Aakash, the world’s cheapest tablet is available online at a price of just INR 2,500. 14 lakh units have been already sold in just 14 days. The new year 2012 seem to be the year of low-cost tablet computers. The demands for Aakash has been unexpectedly high.

Development

Aakash is developed by DataWind (London based Vendor) and IIT Rajasthan and manufactured by the Indian company Quad. There is only one factory of DataWind in India which is in Hyderabad. DataWind is planning to start three more factories in India to meet the large demands for the cheap tablet. These three new factories are planned to be established at Cochin, Hyderabad and Noida before middle of this year.

Sales Statistics

Union HRD Minister of India, Kapil Sibal displaying Aakash Tablet

Union HRD Minister of India, Kapil Sibal displaying Aakash Tablet

Aakash has relatively slow processor and a resistive touchscreen, even then Aakash is getting on the average 1 lakh orders per day since it was made available for online sale, last month.

Apple iPad on its launch in April 2010 has traded about 10 lakh units in 28 days and 30 lakh in 80 days. The most economic model of Apple iPad is priced at INR 29,500 which is too costlier than Aakash.

It is also important to note that Apple-deliveries are on the time and uninterrupted , while deliveries of Aakash Tablets are chocked due to limited availability.

CEO of DataWind, Suneet Singh Tuli was invited by Government of Panama for the low-cost tablet computing project. He said there :

We never expected such a high response from both corporate and individual buyers. We plan to supply 70,000-75,000 units per day once the factories are in place by April. Around two weeks ago, we received a call from India’s computer emergency response team that our website was probably suffering from a large cyber attack. We had to inform them we had just opened sale through our website. We are not accepting cash for bookings currently, as we want to sort out supply issues.

DataWind, had provided its first lot of 30,000 tablets for sale online to the online-vendor Ncarry.com, which vanished immediately.

Ncarry is a division of Nimbuzz. Nimbuzz makes IM (Instant Messaging) Applications and is based on Netherlands. Aakash Tablet has Nimbuzz IM pre-installed in it.

Total number of tablets sold in India up to the end of 2011 was less than 300,000 units. It is interesting to see that 400,000 Aakash tablets has been already pre-booked in last-year, when Aakash was launched on October 5, 2011.

Aakash Versions – UbiSlate 7 and UbiSlate 7+

Aakash UbiSlate7 - The World's Cheapest Tablet PC

Aakash UbiSlate7 - The World's Cheapest Tablet PC


By middle of January, 2012 DataWind will launch the improved version of Aakash – UbiSlate 7+ which will be available at INR 2999. It will also slot for a SIM card for internet access through 2G connection or GPRS. The current version of the tablet has internet-access through Wi-Fi. UbiSlate 7 will have 700 MHz processor as compared to 366 MHz of the current version.

Specifications UbiSlate 7 UbiSlate 7+
Operating System Android 2.2 Froyo Android 2.3 Gingerbread
CPU Arm11 – 366 MHz Cortex A8 – 700 MHz
Storage
  • 2 GB Internal Flash
  • 2 GB to 32 GB External microSD
  • 2 GB Internal Flash
  • 2 GB to 32 GB External microSD
Display 800 px X 480 px7 Inch Diagonal 800 px X 480 px7 Inch Diagonal
Weight 350 gram Android 2.2
RAM 256 MB 256 MB
Network  WiFi WiFi & GPRS Phone network

Drawbacks of Aakash

Several problems have been reported with functions of Aakash Tablet. Prominent issues are low RAM, quick overheating, low battery life, very small 7 inch screen, frequent system freeze, bad sound quality, support for only few file formats and incapability to install free software.


DataWind has announced that these existing problems will be solved in UbiSlate 7+ (the next version to be launched in mid January, 2012), which has a better microprocessor of 700 MHz as compared to the current 366 MHz processor. A built in camera is provided in the new version which was missing in the older version.