Jump to content

Aakash (tablet)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aakash (Asec Internationals as1753)
Image of the Ubislate7 – initial version of Aakash.
ManufacturerVMC Systems, Hyderabad[1]
TypeTablet computer
Introductory priceUS$35 / 2,250
MediaGSM Device
Operating systemAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
CPUARM 11 Cortex A8 @ 800 MHz processor
Memory256 MB RAM
StorageFlash memory
Internal: 2 GB flash
External: 2 to 32 GB microSD slot
Display800 × 480 px
7 in (18 cm) diagonal
SoundBuilt in microphone; stereo earphones; 3.5 mm jack
InputMulti-touch touch screen
ConnectivityWi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
Power3000 mAh li-po battery
Online servicesGetJar Market
Dimensions190.5 mm (7.50 in) H
118.5 mm (4.67 in) W
15.7 mm (0.62 in) D
Mass350 g (12 oz)
SuccessorAakash 2
RelatedUbiSlate 7+

Aakash a.k.a. Ubislate 7+,[2] is a low-cost Android-based tablet computer promoted by the Government of India as part of an initiative to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in an e-learning program.[3] It was produced by the British-Canadian company DataWind,[4] and manufactured by the company, at a production center in Hyderabad.[5] The tablet was officially launched as the Aakash in New Delhi on 5 October 2011. The Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development announced an upgraded second-generation model called Aakash 2 in April 2012.[6]

The Aakash had a 7-inch touch screen, ARM 11 processor, and 256 MB RAM[7] and ran the Android 2.2 operating system. It had two USB ports[8] and delivered high definition (HD) quality video.[7] For applications; the Aakash had access to Getjar, an independent market, rather than the Android Market.[8][9]

Originally projected as a "$35 laptop",[10] the device was to be sold to the Government of India and distributed to university students – initially at US$50[8] until further orders are received and projected eventually to achieve the target $35 price. A commercial version of Aakash was marketed as UbiSlate 7+[11] at a price of $60.[12] The Aakash 2, code named UbiSlate 7C, was released on 11 November 2012.[13]


The device was initially called the Sakshat tablet, later changed to Aakash, which is derived from the Sanskrit word Akasha (Devanagari आकाश) with several related meanings such as empty space and outer space. The word in Hindi means "sky".[7][14]


The aspiration to create a "Made in India" computer was first reflected in a prototype "Simputer" that was produced in small numbers. Bangalore-based CPSU, Bharat Electronics Ltd manufactured around 5,000 Simputers for Indian customers from 2002 to 2007. In 2011, Kapil Sibal announced an anticipated low-cost computing device to compete with the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative, though intended for urban college students rather than the OLPC's rural, underprivileged students.[15]

A year later, the MHRD announced that the low-cost computer would be launched in six weeks. Nine weeks later, the MHRD showcased a tablet named "Aakash", not nearly what had been projected and at US$60 rather than the projected $35. "NDTV" reported that the new low-cost tablet was considerably less able than the previously shown prototype and was going to cost about twice as much.[16]

While it was once projected as a laptop, the design has evolved into a tablet computer. At the inauguration of the National Mission on Education Program organized by the Union HRD Ministry in 2009, joint secretary N. K. Sinha had said that the computing device is 10 inches (which is around 25.5 cm) long and 5 inches (12.5 cm) wide and priced at around US$30.[17]

India's Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, unveiled a prototype on 22 July 2010, which was later given out to 500 college students to collect feedback.[18] The price of the device exhibited was projected at $35 USD, eventually to drop to $20 USD and ultimately to $10 USD.[3][19][20] After the device was unveiled, OLPC chairman Nicholas Negroponte offered full access to OLPC technology at no cost to the Indian team.[citation needed]

The tablet was shown on the television program "Gadget Guru" aired on NDTV in August 2010,[21] when it was shown to have 256 MB RAM and 2 GB of internal flash-memory storage and demonstrated running the Android operating system featuring video playback, internal Wi-Fi and cellular data via an external 3G modem.[22]

The device was developed as part of the country's aim to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in an e-learning program.[3] Originally projected as a "$35 laptop",[10] the device was planned to be sold to the Government of India and distributed to university students – initially at US$50.[8] until further orders are received and projected eventually to achieve the target price of US$35.

A commercial version was eventually released online as the UbiSlate7 tablet PC at 3,000 (US$36) and the Ubislate7+ tablet PC at 3,500 (US$42)[12][23] on 11 November 2012[13] with a plan to offer it with subsidized cost for students at 1,130 (US$14).[24] As of February 2012, DataWind had over 1,400,000 booking orders, but had only shipped 10,000 units which were 0.7% of booking orders.[25] As of November 2012, many customers who booked their orders still had not received their computers and were offered refunds.[26]


As released on 5 October 2011, the Aakash features an overall size of 190.5 x 118.5 x 15.7 mm with a 180 millimetres (7.1 in) resistive touchscreen,[27] a weight of 350 grams (12 oz), and using the Android 2.2 operating system with access to the proprietary marketplace Getjar (not the Android Market), developed by DataWind.

The processor runs at 366 MHz; there is a graphics accelerator and high definition(HD) video coprocessor. The tablet has 256 MB RAM, a micro SD slot with a 2 GB Micro SD card (expandable up to 32 GB), two USB ports, a 3.5 mm audio output and input jack, a 2100 mAh battery, Wi-Fi capability, a browser developed by DataWind, and an internal cellular and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) modem. Power consumption is 2 watts, and there is a solar charging option.

The Aakash is designed to support various documents (DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, ODT, ODP, and PDF), image (PNG, JPG, BMP, and GIF), audio (MP3, AAC, AC3, WAV, and WMA) and video (MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, and FLV) file formats and includes an application for access to YouTube video content.[3][21][28][29][30][31]

Comparison of Aakash tablets[2]
Tablet name Company Price (INR) CPU speed Internal Storage (RAM) External Storage (SD Card) Battery Operating system Network Phone Call Screen Android Store Launch Date Manufactured in
Sakshat HCL 2,200 366 MHz 256 MB 2 GB 2100 mAh Android 2.2 Froyo Wi-Fi only VoIP only 800x480 px Resistive screen No Canceled India
Aakash / Ubislate 7 Datawind 2,500 ARM11, 366 MHz 256 MB 2 GB (expandable up to 32 GB) 2100 mAh Android 2.2 Froyo Wi-Fi only VoIP only Resistive No December 2011 China
UbiSlate 7+


Datawind 3,000 ARM 11, 366 MHz 256 MB 4 GB (expandable up to 32 GB) 3000 mAh Android 2.3 Gingerbread Wi-Fi + GPRS phone network Yes Resistive No April 2012 China
Ubislate 7Ri


Datawind - ARM Cortex-A8, 1 GHz 512 MB 4 GB (expandable up to 32 GB) 3000 mAh Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich Wi-Fi VoIP only Resistive Yes April 2012 China
Ubislate 7R+


Datawind - ARM Cortex-A8, 1 GHz 512 MB  4GB (expandable up to 32 GB) 3000 mAh Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich Wi-Fi + GPRS Phone Network Yes Resistive Yes April 2012 China[32]
Aakash 2, UbiSlate 7Ci Datawind 4500 ARM Cortex-A8, 1 GHz 512 MB 4 GB (expandable up to 32 GB) 3000 mAh, 3hrs battery time Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Wi-Fi only VoIP only 7-inch, 800×480 px capacitive display Yes 11 November 2012
Aakash 3, UbiSlate 7C+(EDGE) Datawind 4999 ARM Cortex-A8, 1 GHz 512 MB 4 GB (expandable up to 32 GB) 3000 mAh, 3hrs battery time Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich Wi-Fi + GPRS Yes 7-inch, 800×480 px capacitive display Yes 11 November 2012

Development and testing[edit]

Kapil Sibal has stated that a million devices would be made available to students in 2011. The devices will be manufactured at a cost of 1500 (€23) each, half of which will be paid by the government and half by the institutions that would use it.[21][33] In January 2011, the company initially chose to build the Sakshat, HCL Infosystems, failed to provide evidence that they had at least 600 million ($12.2 million) in bank guaranteed funds, as required by the Indian government, which has allocated $6.5 million to the project. As a result, the government put the project out for bidding again.[34]

In June 2011, the HRD announced that it received a few samples from the production process, which are under testing. Also it mentions that each state in India provided 3000 samples for testing on their functionality, utility, and durability in field conditions.[35] The Government of India announced that 10,000 (Sakshat) tablets will be delivered to schools and colleges by late June and over the next four months 90,000 more would be made available at a price of 2500 device. The government will subsidize the cost by about 50%, so a student would have to pay less than 1,500 for the device.[36] Indian Ministry of Education is releasing educational videos in conjunction with IGNOU and at sakshat.ac.in. This preparation of content is meant for students with access to the Internet, India's first law-abiding Online Video Library.

Hardware Development

IIT-Rajasthan's specifications were 1.2 GHz CPU and 700 MB RAM. It wanted the tablet to work after steep falls and in Monsoon season, making the cost over Rs 5000.[37] So the responsibility of drafting specifications will be shifted to IIT Mumbai, IIT Madras, and IIT Kanpur while PSUs are being considered for procurement of the Aakash Tablet.[38] Aakash 2 could have the 1 GB RAM, Capacitive TouchScreen Panel and a front-facing camera of VGA Quality (0.3 MP), capable of capturing video, that was announced earlier by Kapil Sibal. This version of the tablet may be announced only after October 2012 because of low funds in procuring the raw material for assembling and also setting up of assembling plant at Noida and Coimbatore. The Govt. officials say that the tablet may not be realized due to the pressure from various institutes and meager support from the Indian Government in regard to the funds regarding the process of the tablet procurement and assembly of the same.

35% of hardware components were sourced from South Korea, 25% from China, 16% from the US, 16% from India, and 8% from other countries.[39]


Problems such as low memory, frequent system freezes, poor sound quality, absence of support for all formats, and inability to install free software available online were also cited by users.[40] Technical commentator Prasanto Roy criticized issues such as a low battery life, an insufficient 7" screen, and absence of training and support infrastructure, especially in rural areas.[41] UbiSlate 7+ will be released by 2012. The producer has finalized the improvements of Aakash.[40]

After receiving feedback on the early release model from over 500 users from educational institutions, DataWind announced the next iteration that will have a new microprocessor of 700 MHz versus the original 366 MHz processor. This will improve the speed of the tablet and solve the existing problems of quick overheating, frequent system freeze, poor sound quality, absence of support for all formats, and the inability to install free online software.[40] The amount of memory, storage, and USB ports will remain the same.

On 16 December 2011, DataWind opened Aakash booking online in their official website at 2500 with one week delivery time and cash on delivery facility, and its upgraded version Ubislate 7+ was available for booking at 2999.[42] On 19 December 2011, DataWind reported that the first phase of Aakash tablet had been sold out completely,[43] just three days since it was opened for Online booking. UbiSlate 7+ production capacity of January, February, and March have already been sold. Now, April production is open for booking.[44] By 3 January 2012, 1.4 million orders had been received since the UbiSlate 7+ was put up for sale online.[45] By the end of January 2012, booking orders for UbiSlate 7+ have crossed two million.[46] By 13 April 2012, Datawind severed connection with its supplier Quad,[47] further delaying the assembly of UbiSlate 7+. While Quad claims DataWind has not paid it, the Canadian company alleges that its former partner infringed its intellectual property rights by trying to sell directly to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Rajasthan.[48]

In the November 2012 issue of PCQuest, some letters described Datawind to be a fraud company, and the users wanted to sue the company in consumer court. [why?]


On 26 April 2012, Datawind launched UbiSlate 7+ and Ubislate 7C tablet in physical stores at Delhi.[49] Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced the plan to launch LTE(4G) Tablet between 3500–5000, with low-cost Internet service.[50] This tablet will be an upgraded version of Aakash developed by DataWind.[51] Indian Govt. HRD has revealed that Aakash 2 will be announced in May 2012. Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), DataWind, Wishtel, and Telmoco Development Labs are Interested in bidding at the Aakash 2 contract auction.

The low-cost Akash tablet is under trials in IIT Bombay and is being tested against the new specifications.[52]

The Indian government also hopes to produce Aakash for the export market. On a visit to Turkmenistan in September 2012, the Indian telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, suggested forming a joint venture company which may manufacture Aakash. In this joint venture, the Indian side would design the necessary hardware and software of the tablet, fulfilling the Turkmen side needs. Besides supplying the low-cost tablets, the joint venture company could market the product to other international markets.[53]

According to allegations made in the Hindustan Times, the Tuli brothers "may have" procured these devices off-the-shelf from manufacturers in China and sold them to the Indian government at the purchase price.[32]Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of DataWind, however, insisted that only the manufacture of the motherboards were subcontracted to Chinese manufacturers, following which the components were placed in DIY kits which DataWind assembled and sold to the Indian government HRD.[32][54] Chinese manufacturers allege that they sold "ready-to-use" tablets to Datawind, and that they manufactured the touch screens as well. Tuli, however, insists that the touch screens were manufactured by DataWind in Canada.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harsimran Julka, ET Bureau (2 June 2012). "Aakash 2, the cheapest tablet PC, misses May-end deadline". The Economic Times. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b Android Tablet| Smartphone Tablet Pc With SIM Slot Price In India Archived 5 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Ubislate.com (20 September 2012). Retrieved on 9 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "India unveils prototype for $35 touch-screen computer". BBC World news-South Asia. 23 July 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  4. ^ Kurup, Saira (9 October 2011). "We want to target the billion Indians who are cut off". Times of India. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. ^ Timmons, Heather (6 October 2011). "Aiming for the Other One Billion". New York Times.
  6. ^ Budki, Sandeep (18 January 2012). "Datawind loses government edge". Themobileindian.com. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "Aakash tablet will end 'digital divide'". Montreal Gazette, Jason Magder, 6 October 2011. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d "Meet Aakash, India's $35 'Laptop'". New York Times, 5 October 2011, Pamposh Raina and Heather Timmons. 5 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Aakash: We want to target the billion Indians who are cut off, says Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of DataWind". Economic Times, 9 October 2011, Saira Kurup. 9 October 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Low Cost access –Cum-Computing Device Unveiled by Kapil Sibal". Press Information Bureau. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  11. ^ "DataWind rebrands UbiSlate 7 as UbiSlate 7+".
  12. ^ a b "Aakash: World's cheapest tablet launched; to be sold for $60 in retail". Economic Times. India. 5 October 2011.
  13. ^ a b "President Unveils Aakash Version 2.0 Tablet on National Education Day Launches Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  14. ^ "India Announces World's Cheapest Tablet". India Real Time, viaThe Wall Street Journal, Tripti Lahiri, 5 October 2011. 5 October 2011.
  15. ^ "New Latest Tablets in India -Tablet Computer- Tablet PC- Online Shopping". www.ubislate.com. Archived from the original on 17 December 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Show » The Aakash: Not $35 But Still India's Cheapest Tablet » $35 tablet: From prototype to reality". NDTV. 5 October 2011. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  17. ^ India to unveil the £7 laptop, The Guardian, 2 February 2009
  18. ^ Aakash Tablet Hands On – Full Review, MashGeek, 18 May 2012
  19. ^ "Why India's $35 computer joke isn't funny". The Economic Times. New Delhi, India. 25 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  20. ^ PIB Press Release PIB Retrieved 26 July 2010
  21. ^ a b c NDTV Gadget Guru Gadget Guru exclusive: ,5 laptop is here. Retrieved 13 August 2010
  22. ^ "Aakash: World's Cheapest Tablet is here". 5 October 2011. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  23. ^ UbiSlate device specifications Archived 20 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine ubislate.com, Retrieved on 1 March 2013.
  24. ^ "Low-cost Aakash 2 tablet launched in India at Rs 1,130". IBNLive.com. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  25. ^ Aakash lurches toward another crisis as India loses patience with DataWind Engadget, Retrieved on 1 March 2013.
  26. ^ Datawind to clear all paid orders for Aakash in 6 weeks The Hindu Business Line, Retrieved on 1 March 2013.
  27. ^ "Hands On: India's $35 Aakash Android tablet lands in America (exclusive)". VentureBeat. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  28. ^ "UbiSurfer Browser of India's Aakash Android Tablet". Gary, Mark. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012.
  29. ^ "India's $35 tablet is here, for real. Called Aakash, costs $60". Engadget. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  30. ^ "Aakash Tablet Hands on Review". Hungry N Foolish. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  31. ^ Halliday, Josh (23 July 2010). "India unveils cheapest laptop". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  32. ^ a b c Conned: Aakash 2 made in China? Archived 27 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Guardin-India untiels cheapest laptop Retrieved 25 July 2010
  34. ^ Harsimran Julka & Gulveen Aulakh, "Tender for $35 laptop project cancelled", The Economic Times, 18 January 2011. News clipping by Pragadeesh Sekar on public interest
  35. ^ "HRD press release". Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  36. ^ "News Article about launch". Pluggd.in. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  37. ^ "Light Reading India – 4G/LTE – Is the Aakash Dream Over? – Telecom". Lightreading.in. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  38. ^ Nigavekar, Arun. "Clouds of doubt over Aakash". Mydigitalfc.com. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  39. ^ "Aakash Tablet's commercial variant in November". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 9 November 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  40. ^ a b c Chauhan, Chetan (3 November 2011). "Better, faster Aakash-2 to be launched in Feb 2012". Hindustan Times, New Delhi. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011.
  41. ^ "Why India's Cheap Tablet May Not Work Out". 31 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. The cheapest mobile handset doesn't compromise on the basics: calls, SMS, battery life. Nor does the Tata Nano. The Aakash does
  42. ^ "World's cheapest tablet Aakash goes on sale for Rs 2500 Online with One week Delivery- www.aakashtablet.com". Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  43. ^ "World's Cheapest Tablet – Aakash sold out". Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  44. ^ Ubislate official website. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  45. ^ "1.4 million orders for world's cheapest tablet in India". AFP. 3 January 2012. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  46. ^ Tuli, Suneet Singh. "UbiSlate 7+". http://excel www.ubislate.com. DataWind Ltd. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  47. ^ "Datawind breaks ties with supplier, Aakash delayed". Economictimes.indiatimes.com. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  48. ^ "New twist in Aakash tablet controversy". Livemint.com. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  49. ^ "Ubislate 7C". Teletechnology.in. 25 April 2012. Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  50. ^ "RIL to Hit Data Services Market with 4G Technology on RS. 3500 Tablet". Reliance Industries. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  51. ^ "Datawind, RIL talk on Chepaset Tab". Business-Standard. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  52. ^ "Aakash: IIT-Bombay testing upgraded version". The Times of India. 13 June 2012. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014.
  53. ^ "India Proposes JV with Turkmenistan to Manufacture Aakash". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 19 September 2012.
  54. ^ Govt paid for specs, not Chinese parts in Aakash 2: Datawind. Firstpost. Retrieved on 9 December 2013.

External links[edit]