Just days after the launch of the upgraded version of the Aakash tablet, Aakash 2, the humble tablet is set to go beyond classrooms. The Business Standard now reports that Datawind, the Canadian manufacturer of India's low-cost computing dream is receiving queries from other government agencies, pertaining to the supply of the Aakash 2 tablet. This is in addition to the order for supplying 100,000 tablets to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that the company received earlier. Datawind chief executive Suneet Singh Tuli was quoted as saying, “There is a lot of interest from the rural development department and others for using these.”

Datawind too is going to state governments in a bid to use the Aakash 2 tablet to initiate several programmes. Tuli was further quoted as saying, “We got in touch with the ministry of commerce and explained to them how giving out point of sales terminals in the form of Aakash-2 to shop owners in rural India can improve efficiency in the system. We are also in talks with the ministry of rural development on how the new tablet can help the ministry in the caste survey process.”

At the launch

At the launch of the Aakash 2

A senior HRD ministry official was quoted as saying that various ministries have been showing keen interest in the Aakash 2 tablet. A lot of them are also reportedly gauging the options that they have, to make the best use of the tablet by initiating various programmes. 

The Aakash 2 tablet is likely to be used as a verification tool to make sure that the subsidised goods reach their intended recipients. The low-cost tablets would be used to verify biometric data of a person using the database prepared by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). “Software developers are working on the various aspects of how Aakash-2 can be aligned with the UIDAI project. The development and testing of these devices is on,” Tuli added. 

The central government will be getting the tablet from Datawind at Rs 2,263 each and will be providing these to students at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,132 per unit. Datawind sold 20,000 tablets to the Centre earlier, and is to deliver a total of 100,000 tablets to the latter by the end of December.

On National Education Day (November 11) this year, President Pranab Mukherjee and the Human Resources and Development (HRD) minister, MM Pallam Raju, launched the Aakash 2 tablet at Vigyan Bhawan, putting an end to months of speculation surrounding the launch of the tablet. The upgraded tablet will be made available to students in India at a subsidised price of Rs 1,130. According to reports, Aakash 2 will be made available to engineering college students and universities for starters, and will be subsequently distributed to others. 

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.

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