At last we have made it. When it was first announced, the news creates an immediate buzz among tech- cos, both domestic & international. That buzz was all about doubting or rather analyzing the ability to design such a sophisticated piece of device at this astonishing price. Yea , we are talking about the Akash TAB, a robust ANDROID 2.2 (Froyo) tablet with 7″ resistive touch screen priced at $ 50, that is approximately 2638 INR . Its really something like designing the impossible.
The initiative of this development was taken by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Govt . of India and the device is jointly developed by Indian Institute of Technology, Rajastan & Datawind, a wireless web access product manufacturing company based at Montreal, Canada. The main motto behind creating such devices is to provide mass-computing facilities to the people of rural India and especially the students. Akash, which means ‘sky’ in Hindi was made available to the market on 05-11-2011. The device is available in two models, one is for student (Akash TAB) and so its priced even more reasonably, $ 35 or 1500 INR and the other one, UBISLATE 7 is set to release on January 2012 with some added features and enhancements. The first lot of Akash TAB is entirely sold out as reported on 19 December 2011, that is only 3 days after opening the online buying facility. As the Akash TAB is entirely designed for students, it is available through Govt. agencies and school authorities and lacks even some moderate features like game playing, third party software Installation etc. At this price we couldn’t demand more :)
Let us see the features that the Akash TAB boasts:
A single core 366 MHz processor with added graphics acceleration and a co-processor for HD video playback.
Android 2.2 (Froyo). Though its an Android device , the popular Android Marketplace is missing in this tab, in place of that the ‘Getjar’ & option to install 150,000 apps.
LCD 7” resistive.
Permanent storage media:
2 GB Micro SD card pre-installed and
expandable upto 32 GB.
2 USB port (standard size).
None with an option to connect an external one through USB.
2100 mAh. (3 HRS. of standard use and 2 HRS. of HD video
DataWind Accelerated Browser (Patented technology for super fast web accelaration).
Internal cellular and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM card).
Document Formats Supported:
DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, ODT
Video Formats Supported:
MPEG4, MPEG2, FLV and AVI.
Audio Formats Supported:
WMA, MP3, AC3, AAC and WAV.
Wifi Enabled, GPRS & 3G dongle enabled.
Wow, now that’s really impressive, isn’t it ? In-spite of having such great features at this cheap price tag, the Akash TAB too have some ‘unavoidable’ system glitches like frequent freezing, quick overheating and low-quality sound etc. I used the term ‘unavoidable’ because with a 366 MHz processor and that small amount of RAM, it is not possible to overcome those problems.
However, the commercial version of Akash TAB , named UBISLATE 7 will come up with enhancements like 700MHz processor, capacitive screen, 1GB RAM, improved options for sound and video playback, game playing, front camera etc. The pre- booking for UBISLATE 7 has started and I’ve booked one of this most sought after computing devices for myself, you can too book this for yourself here.
[ UPDATE ON 26 APRIL 2013: Currently this tab is not available in India and also not so much popular. There are several other models has been released in the market. If you wish to know more, you can read this article in Wikipedia. ]