Is Aakash the real deal?

If you are one of those eyeing to grab Aakash, the so- called India’s answer to iPad? Then hold on!

Come February 2012, a better and more efficient Aakash-2, the world’s cheapest tablet computer, will be available at the price of version 1 – Rs 2,276 or $49. IIT-Rajasthan has finalised improvements in the Aakash-1 launched on October 5.

“We expect to launch the new version of Aakash by January-February next year,” said HRD minister Kapil Sibal, who has been overwhelmed by international response to Aakash. He had showcased it as a device for “children of the world” at a recent United Nations conference in Paris.

Aakash-2, based on feedback from over 500 users of Aakash-1 in IITs and other institutions, will have a new  800 MHz processor, compared to the old 366 MHz processor. It will speed up the tablet computer and enable downloading of videos from YouTube.

The Random Access Memory of the new version will be enhanced to 1 GB from 256 MB in Aakash-1, which restricted multi-tasking.

To make Aakash-2 attractive, the institute has also decided to incorporate a  camera on the front for online video chatting, and a better seven-inch touchscreen.

This comes after the IIT students, who are testing Aakash-1, reported problems like overheating within 30 minutes of usage, frequent system freeze, poor sound quality, absence of support for many formats and inability to install free software available online. “Aakash is much below our expectations,” said an IIT student, who used the device for a month.

Although the better Aakash will be ready by February 2012, manufacturing it to meet the government’s inspirational target of providing the tablets to two million students is still a challenge. “We have to evolve an eco-system of several vendors and its testing by IITs and other institutes to provide an Aakash to each child by 2017 (end of 12th plan),” a senior HRD ministry official said.

We think that you should hold your purchase and wait for the optimized version of the tablet if you want a true Tablet Experience.

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