by May 2, 2013 0 comments

The project won by DataWind in an open and transparent international tender for the supply of Aakash1 devices at $49.98, was subsequently modified to 98,000 Aakash2 devices and 2,000 devices with DataWind’s recommendations for Aakash3, all at a price of Rs.2,263 (currently $41.61).

 

The Aakash2 devices are the world’s lowest cost computing access devices, delivered to IIT-Bombay with 12 months warranty and accessories at only Rs.2,263 (competitively featured tablets are available in Indian market for around Rs.5,000). The devices utilize multi-touch projective capacitive touch screens manufactured at India’s only touch-screen manufacturing facility, established by the company in Amritsar. The devices are powered by a Cortex A8 – 1Ghz processor, of the same calibre as the original iPad, and contain 512MB of RAM (twice that of the original iPad). Flash memory of 4GB can be supplemented by upto 32GB through its micro-SD card slot. In addition to embedded WiFi, the Aakash2 tablet computers support external 3G and EVDO dongles for mobile broadband data connectivity. Supporting Google’s Android 4.0 operating system, VGA camera, G-sensor, internal microphone, speakers and headphone jack, the Aakash2 is a full-featured tablet computer intended to break the affordability barrier with the mission of bridging the digital divide. Commercially the device is sold as the UbiSlate 7Ci.

 

DataWind’s recommended specifications for Aakash3 contain an embedded quad-band Edge modem allowing for both cellular voice and data functionality. While external dongles provide limited coverage and can cost as much as 50% of the cost of Aakash devices, an internal cellular modem at no additional cost which allows the device to be used both as a mobile smart phone and also for ubiquitous internet connectivity with a basic SIM, will help herald India’s internet revolution. The devices also provide an accelerated web experience, using DataWind’s breakthrough web delivery platform covered by 18 U.S. and international patents.DataWind has delivered 2,000 units to IIT-Bombay with these specifications, as part of the 100,000 unit project. Commercially this device is sold as the UbiSlate 7C+.

 

Reviews, Awards & Accolades:

– The Aakash2 has received very strong reviews globally, which resulted in DataWind’s founders Raja Singh Tuli and Suneet Singh Tuli being selected by Forbes Magazine in its annual Impact 15 list of social entrepreneurs for revolutionizing education.

– The Forbes magazine review of the product referred to it as ‘World Changing Indeed’. Techone 3’s review called it “one of the best tablet in the market with budget-friendly price tab”. Venture Beat’s reviewer’s conclusion was “I want this!”. Even, the Indian government’s Union Ministers and teachers gave the product a ‘Thumb’s Up”.

– Quartz included it in its “Five most disruptive technologies of 2012”, and Read-Write said: “People were stunned….You hold one in your hand it’s easy to imagine the next billion people coming online”

– DataWind was given the ShikshaRatna Award by Digital Learning State Education Summit 2013 for the Aakash2.

– Even the UK Government’s Trade & Investment branch awarded DataWind as UK’s Most Innovative Mobile company for 2012.

 

Content & Applications Ecosystem:

– The Aakash2 devices are supported by a very strong ecosystem of content and applications. Intended as a remote learning tool, with an embedded HD video co-processor, the devices deliver thousands of hours of video based lectures from the government funded NPTEL channel and other content on sites like Youtube and the Khan academy.

– DataWind provides access to a significant range of Ebook content, including the full CBSE curriculum.

– IIT-Bombay’s open source lab has developed a variety of applications for engineering students to utilize the Aakash2. These include 3-D modeling applications, C++ programming tools, distance learning and live assessment tools.

– DataWind has partnered with a number of educational content providers for educational games, testing applications and remote tutoring.

– To help further enhance the ecosystem of content-development, in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Partnerships (UNOP), DataWind has put out a global call for socially responsible apps to help empower women. Run via contest on the website www.appstoempower.org, this global call brings together like-minded visionaries to encourage content and applications for the social good.

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