The Union Ministers seem to be very pleased with the upgraded version of the Aakash tablet and have showered it with positive feedback. On November 11, i.e., on Education Day this year, the tablets will be officially launched in the country, by President Pranab Mukherjee. With this, enthusiasts and potential buyers finally have a date to go by for the launch of the upgraded version of the low-cost computing device. Even as scores of students in the nation awaited the launch and availability of the Aakash 2 tablet, several units were sent across to all ministers as well as state chief ministers for their feedback, recently. Now armed with positive feedback, the Aakash 2 finally seems to be raring to go.

Coming here on Education Day

The Aakash 2 is a significant upgrade over the original Aakash tablet. The initial version of the tablet had a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, which struggled to respond to touch. It ran Android v2.2 on a 366MHz processor, based on an older ARM architecture. The Aakash 2 tablet is likely to be replaced by a successor, which will have a dual-core Cortex – A9 processor by the end of this year. 

Early last month, reports had emerged about Modi taking a dig at India’s low-cost dream tablet – the brainchild of the Communications and IT Minister, Kapil Sibal. It all happened when, as part of its campaigning ahead of the Assembly elections, Congress announced that it would distribute free laptops to students if they were voted to power. Critical of this, Modi took a dig at Congress and said, “Kash [If only] this Aakash tablet could land on earth, then the lie [promise of free laptops] they [Congress] are spreading now would hold some weight”. Modi went on to accuse the Centre of 'dragging its feet' in distributing Aakash tablets. Modi asserted that the Centre failed to deliver on its much-hyped commitment.

In August, Datawind started supplying units of Aakash 2 to IIT Bombay. Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli told PTI in September, “Supplies are on to IIT Bombay. In the next few weeks, it should be launched. I do not have the exact date, but HRD Minister [Kapil Sibal] has said he wants to launch on the anniversary date which is October 5”. However, Tuli added that the launch would depend on Sibal’s schedule. While refusing to disclose any further, Tuli added that the supplies to IIT Bombay had begun a month and a half ago.   

In June this year, Sibal had announced that 100,000 units of the Aakash 2 tablet would be provided to engineering colleges, deliveries for which were expected to begin last month. Sibal said, “That was the dream and I, as minister for Human Resource Development, asked myself the question can I provide a tablet to the students throughout the country that costs a reasonable amount so that all children can afford it and yet is able to deliver through the best technology, the vast information available on the net to them sitting wherever they are. We have realised a dream that was germinated a few years ago. We have been able to tell the world that through our frugal innovation system we can conquer the world and that's exactly what we need to do for India as a country”.

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