An upgraded version of Aakash tablet computer would be launched in April without any increase in the price, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Described as the world’s cheapest tablet, the revised version would be faster with a longer battery life of three hours and better screen. Datawind would supply one lakh high-speed tablets, Mr. Sibal said in response to a supplementary during question hour.
“These higher specifications, which include 700 MHz Cortex A8 processor, 3200mAH battery with three-hour usage time and a capacitative touch screen, have been necessitated to overcome the initial difficulties observed in the devices,” he said.
The tablet cost just over Rs. 2,000.
The first phase of one lakh tablets was targeted at students of higher technical education institutions so as to further ascertain technical feedback on its operation and usability, the Minister said.
To demands from members for extending the distribution of tablets to school students, he said it would be made available when the proposed National Mission of Education through ICT for Schools got necessary funds.
Once the production capacities were built up, the norms for distribution with the aim of prioritising the empowerment of students, especially from the disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society, through this low cost access-cum-computing device would be prepared.
According to Mr. Sibal, Datawind does not have the capacity to manufacture the required number of tablets, and hence a Principal Investigator based at IIT-Bombay, in collaboration with C-DAC, ITI Rajasthan and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, was trying to enhance the manufacturing capacity so that all students had a tablet in their hand in the next 5 to 6 years.
Once production capacities are built up, distribution norms will be prepared, First phase of tablets for students of higher technical education institutions.