Here is some good news for those waiting for the Aakash tablet; the upgraded version will be launched in April with a better screen and with a good battery life, by the same manufacturer, Datawind. Kapil Sibal, HRD minister has confirmed this along with price band which be the same at about Rs. 2000 for students and around Rs. 3,000 for general consumers.
The improved Aakash tablet will now come with a 700 MHz cortex A8 (ARM) processor with a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen. If you may recall the first Aakash tablet came with resistive touchscreen and the Aakash 2 was supported to feature a resistive screen too, but that has now been upgraded to capacitive technology.
Rest of the features are nearly the same for example android 2.2 or 2.3 (I hope it’s 2.3 it’s better), Wi-Fi, expandable memory support up to 32 GB, USB port where you can connect 3G dongle and pen drives, 2 GB internal flash, 3.5 mm audio port and probably with SIM card slot with 2G (GPRS). The battery capacity has further been enhanced to 3200 mAh that will give a usage time of about 3 hours.
Even though the tablet will be ready in April, I don’t think the general consumers will get their hands on it. The reason being that in 1st phase, about 1 lakh tablets will be sent to students of higher technical education, this will help the company and the GOVT get a better feedback and improve the quality if required.
Moreover the requirement is huge and Datawind alone cannot manufacture the required quantity and hence some other players will get involved. Kapil Sibal also said that the manufacturing capacity will be increased and in about 5 to 6 years every student will have a tab in their hand.
I really don’t understand why should it take 5 to 6 years? Technology changes every now and then, do you think the 700 MHz tab will have any value after 5 to 6 years?
The good news is that the upgraded Aakash will be in the market in April 2012 but will be available only for the students and if Datawind can manufacture more tablets the general audience may get a chance to buy it. There are other players who have entered this low cost tablet segment like the BSNL-PENTA and the Xtab A10 but ironically due to huge demand they are not able to deliver the required quantity.
And the funny thing is that the consumers are booking here and there but are not getting the tablets, they are just waiting and waiting.