On July 22nd 2010, HRD minister Kapil Sibal announced that the Indian government would attempt to bridge the digital divide by means of a 35$ tablet PC. The following year, on October 5th 2011, Aakash was launched as an affordable tablet computer priced at a neat Rs 1750 for Indian students.
The dream of a technologically empowered nation did not seem far, the introduction of a cheaper alternative to traditional computing devices quashed sceptics and reinforced optimists.
No doubt Aakash is a landmark for modern India but the journey to absolute technical finesse in the hands of the masses is far from over.The tablet will be manufactured by DataWind and will boast Android 2.2 operating system running on a 366 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM and a storage capacity ranging from 2GB to 32 GB via a MicroSD slot. The tablet will have a 7 inch multi-touch resistive touchscreen and will support Wifi(802.11 a/b/g/n).
To top it all, a 1 year compulsory replacement warranty will ensure quality products being produced in order to avoid bearing the brunt of replacing faulty products.
The commercial variant of the tablet will be retailed under the brand name UbiSlate and will cost a relatively decent Rs 3000.
Those purchasing the commerical variant won’t be liable to the government subsidy but would be able to avail the facility of telephonic conversations, video chat and internet surfing via a GSM operator.
With the launch of the Aakash tablet, several other schemes of the Indian Government wherein it was attempting to ensure a technologically enabled nation have come to the fore.
BOSS or Bharat Operating System Solutions is a free Linux based operating system for India which has been avoiding the media glare. BOSS can be downloaded from it’s website and has variants other than a developer version ranging from ones for basic educational needs to advanced versions for servers and even for the Intel atom processor.
The Indian government and the populace must realize that the currently available resources would not be suffice to ensure equal opportunity for the masses in the years to come.
The government needs to strive for enhancement in order to survive in the standards set by fellow nations. Constraints with Aakash like other government machinery are pertaining to distribution and questions being raised on the quality of products. As an introduction, 1 lakh tablets are being made available for over 25,000 higher education institutions in our country, a figure if calculated leads to just 4 tablets per institute in the first round.
Further the question being raised on the 3 hour claimed battery backup is a major down slide.
The lack of availability of proper distribution mechanisms has since time immemorial been instrumental in the fizzing out of government policies. Further the introduction on a cheap tablet does not ensure it’s proper utilization.
The introduction of Aakash is certainly one of the most landmark steps in the future of India but we must ensure that this is not the only step that is undertaken.
Special Thanks to – Subhagata Bhattacharya