Aakash (Android Tablet by Indian Government) Was Launched - [October 5, 2011] This Day in History

On 5 October 2011, Aakash, an Android Tablet computer was launched in India. The first generation tablets were priced at Rs.1130. This article will give details about the Aakash Tablet within the IAS Exam.

Aakash Android Tablet

  • This project was promoted by the Government of India (GOI) in accordance with an initiative to link 25000 colleges and 400 universities through an e-learning programme.
  • The tablet was produced and manufactured by DataWind, a British-Canadian company at its manufacturing centre in Hyderabad.
  • Although the tablet was initially projected to be a “$35 laptop”, the price came out to be US$50 in the beginning, and it was later projected to come down to the target of $35 through scaling.
  • It was developed jointly by DataWind and the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur (Rajasthan).
  • The tablets were sold to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) at Rs.2263 and were sold to students at a subsidised rate of Rs.1130.
  • Aakash is alternatively called UbiSlate 7+.
  • Specifications of Aakash tablet: 7-inch touchscreen, weight of 350 g, 366 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM and a 2100 mAh battery. It also has a graphics accelerator and HD video coprocessor. The Aakash has a micro SD slot with a 2 GB Micro SD card which is expandable to 32 GB. There are 2 USB ports, Wi-Fi capability, a 3.5 mm audio output and input jack, an internal cellular and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) modem. It uses the Android 2.2 operating system. It has access to GetJar, an independent mobile phone app store based in Lithuania, rather than the Android Market. It also has a solar charging option.
  • It can support various document formats like DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX, ODP, ODT, PDF; image formats like PNG, JPG, GIF and BMP; audio formats like AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV and AC3; and video formats like MPEG2, MPEG4, FLV and AVI. YouTube can also be accessed on it.
  • It has many preloaded applications such as notepad, internet browser, calculator, clock, camera, email, messaging, music, etc.
  • While the tablet was sold to the MHRD who redistributed it to students at the subsidised rate branded as Aakash, it was commercially sold by DataWind branded as UbiSlate.
  • Aakash 2, an upgraded version was launched on November 11, 2012 by Pranab Mukherjee, the then President of India.
  • Aakash 2 was developed in collaboration with IIT Bombay. It was released at the United Nations in New York by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 28 November 2012.
  • Currently, Aakash 3 and Aakash 4 were released. Aakash 4 failed to create the buzz that Aakash had. There were technical problems in the previous models and more importantly, other established players were bringing out low-cost versions of their smartphones and tablets. This is an indication of how rapidly the technology market changes.
  • Even though many consider the Aakash a failure, it was no doubt successful in creating a new market for low-cost tablets. The market has also grown ever since the Aakash was introduced.
Also on this day 

1805: Death of Lord Cornwallis, Governor-General of Bengal for two terms. 1949: Death of social reformer and freedom fighter A K Pillai. 1957: Jawaharlal Nehru received the key of the Hiroshima Peace City. 1989: The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Prize for Peace. 1989: M. Fathima Beevi became the first female judge in the Supreme Court of India. 1991: Death of Ramnath Goenka, founder of the Indian Express. 1997: Kiran Bedi received the Joseph Beuys prize.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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