India‘s finally got its much hyped ultra-low-cost tablet, Aakash. The government is buying the first units of the device for Rs 2250 each from a British company which is assembling the devices in India. They will initially be given to students for free in a pilot run of 100,000 units.
Here is the excerpt of official announcement of release from Telecoms and Education Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal
“The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Our new tablet, Aakash will end that digital divide”.
The tablet runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and comes with a 7-inch resistive touchscreen with 800×480 resolution and weighs 350 grams. The tablet has a 256MB of RAM, a 32GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.
The tablet comes with a 12-month replacement warranty and supports formats like DOC, DOCX, PDF and PPTX etc. Aakash has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
The tablet has a 2100mAh battery which can reportedly last for 2-3 hours depending on the usage. The device is also said to be completely made in India, as according to a review, a sticker at the back emphasises the fact. Aakash also reportedly packs some pre-loaded apps, however, lacks the Android Market Place.
DataWind, the British-based company that developed the tablet, said the cost would drop when mass production begins. The tablet will be commercially available from November for Rs 2999. The commercial version of the tablet would have no duty waivers or subsidy, as in the government’s version and come with added features like an inbuilt cellular modem and SIM to access internet.
Here are the likes and dislikes as I have observed in it so far…
The price : At under Rs 7000, it’s something many Indians might be willing to buy. From the rickshaw wallah who ferries me home every night, to my colleagues who wonder what computer they should get for their five year old daughters. It works for everyone.
The capability : It plays movies, music, games. It surfs the net, creates and saves documents. It accepts pen drives, accepts 3G dongles, even accepts the Internet broadband cable if you want to plug that in directly. Plus, it works on Wi-Fi. It does everything an average computer should, everything that a casual user would ask it to do.
The free accessories : Yes, more glamorous tablets from more famous companies also offer covers and keyboards you can attach to them. But together, the extra bits might cost as much as the machine itself. Here, you get the basic accessories as part of the package – and they do add a lot of value to the tablet.
It says something about how much the company respects its customers. Someone who carries around a seven thousand rupee Magnum Pepper will draw curious glances and good natured questions. He’s going to feel special.
The looks : Slip it out of the fancy leather cover and keyboard attachment and the Magnum Pepper loses some of its novelty factor. As a standalone, it isn’t very glamorous. At least, not the standard black version that I got for review. It’s built to work. Not to seduce.
The battery life : Lasts about four hours if I don’t connect the keyboard through the USB adaptor. About half that if I do. Really drains out if I use Wi-Fi and the connected keyboard.
The screen : After using the Reliance tablet, this one felt a bit insensitive. I’d have to press icons extra hard to get them to work. My finger felt a bit strange after a while. The touch calibration also felt a tad unpredictable. Sometimes, a gentle flick would send it racing over pages while at other times, I’d have to laboriously drag through each page. Also, resolution isn’t as sharp as on the Reliance. It’s not bad – simply not that exciting. But remember, the Reliance Tablet costs almost double this one.
More has to be posted later…
This article was posted in "Tech Updates'' section by Kapil Arya.
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