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A Tablet for the cash strapped?
DataWind delivers on Indian government promise of an a affordable tablet

Students will get it for Rs 2250; Will sell to general Indian public soon,  for Rs 3000.

October 6: The London-based, Indian ingenuity-fuelled provider of Wireless Internet devices, DataWind, has risen to the challenge thrown by the Indian government to come up with an affordable computing and Net access platform to connect its ‘unconnected’ millions.
At a function in Delhi on Wednesday, the device – a 7 inch touch-screen tablet running an Android flavour of operating software and christened ‘Aakash’ ( sky) was unveiled by Indian IT and telecom minister Kapil Sibal. ( see Image of the Day for a few days on the home page).

 Manufactured within the country – in a new plant set up in Hyderabad, by DataWind and based on a design worked out by the Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan, Aakash is being bought by government in a first lot of 100,000 at an all in price of Rs 2250 a unit. At that price, which is just shy of $ 46 by today’s exchange rates. If the government follows through on its intention of ordering 10 million units, DataWind has said it will drop the unit price to Rs 1750 which is just a whisker above the much hyped $ 35 promise made a few months ago.
Says DataWind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli : “Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access. Working with IIT Rajasthan, and the National ission on Education-ICT, we’ve created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses. This is not only a concept that applies to India, but has ignited the imagination of governments around the world. The Aakash is proudly made in India, and is destined to revolutionize computing and internet access for the world.”
Primarily intended for students, the Aakash tablet can be used as an E-book reader, for access to online streaming course material and web based research. Instant messaging and social networking are delivered through the Nimbuzz application.
The Aakash is a 7” Android 2.2 touch screen tablet that has a HD video co-processor for a high-quality multimedia experience and core graphics accelerator for faster application support. It is the only Android device in the market to offer DataWind’s UbiSurfer browser, based on 18 international patents. The UbiSurfer browser accelerates web pages by factors of 10x to 30x, allowing for a web experience of unrivalled speed claims DataWind.
The device includes Wi-Fi connectivity and support for optional 3G modems. Two full-sized USB ports are integrated into the unit allowing pen-drives, external keyboards, web-cams, dongles and other inexpensive peripherals to be attached
Commercial version soon -- at Rs 3000.

Although, the Aakash tablet will only be available to post-secondary students through the NME-ICT, DataWind will offer a commercial version, called the UbiSlate, starting late November at a a retail price under Rs.2,999 (inclusive of all duties and taxes). The price difference between the Aakash and UbiSlate is because the commercially available product will include a cellular modem, allowing it to deliver web access anywhere there is a cellular connectivity, and also to function as a mobile phone!
The open market product will also need to include various forms of excise duties, countervailing duties, sales tax, distribution costs, marketing costs, channel margins and field service support. Further details of the UbiSlate will be provided upon its launch in November.  www.  

Specifications of Aakash
• Hardware:
– Processor: 366 Mhz Connexant with Graphics accelerator and HD Video co-processor & graphics accelerator
– Memory (RAM): 256MB RAM / Storage (Internal): 2GB Flash
– Storage (External): 2GB card included. Expandable up to 32GB Supported
– Peripherals (USB2.0 ports, number): 2 Standard USB port
– Audio out: 3.5mm jack / Audio in: 3.5mm jack
– Display and Resolution: 7” display with 800x480 pixel resolution
– Input Devices: Resistive touch screen
– Connectivity and Networking: GPRS and WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g
– Power and Battery: Up to 180 minutes on battery. AC adapter 200-240 volt range.
• Software:
– OS: Android 2.2
– Document Rendering
• Supported Document formats: DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, ODT, ODP
• PDF viewer, Text editor
– Multimedia and Image Display
• Image viewer supported formats: PNG, JPG, BMP and GIF
• Supported audio formats: MP3, AAC, AC3, WAV, WMA
• Supported video formats: MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, FLV
– Communication and Internet
• Web browser - Standards Compliance: xHTML 1.1 compliant, JavaScript 1.8 compliant
• Separate application for online YouTube video
• Nimbuzz software
• Safety and other standards compliance
– CE certification / RoHS certification
• Additional Web Browser: UbiSurfer-Browser with compression/acceleration and IE8 rendering.

Oct 6 2011