Aakash, conceptualised by the HRD ministry during the UPA regime, is a low-cost tablet with a 7-inch touch screen, ARM 11 processor and 256 MB RAM on Android 2.2 operating system. It has two universal serial bus (USB) ports. For applications, the Aakash has access to Getjar, an independent market, rather than the Android market.
It was supposed to change the education system in the country by digitising the course content and promoting e-learning but the low-cost tablet Aakash, which was visualised by HRD ministry in the previous UPA government, is yet to see the light of the day, even after a year since its tender was floated.A senior government official, who did not want to be named, said the project has been inordinately delayed because of government’s inaction in awarding contracts to vendors for production. “The device (Aakash IV) has been designed as per the government’s requirement. It is, however, stuck at the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), through which every government rate contracts go,” said the official.He said order could not be awarded as none of the 13 vendors, including Intel, Dell, Acer, HP, HCL, Microsoft, Mircomax and Datawind, could meet 100% specification laid out by the government. According to him, there are many successful tablets in the market which operate on similar specs quoted by some of the vendors who responded to the Aakash IV tender.”One of the requirement was that the device should have both Android and Linux operating system so that it allows programming tasks by students. This was not met by some. The government was looking at a tablet only as netbook would have been a costlier affair,” he said.
Aakash, conceptualised by the HRD ministry during the UPA regime, is a low-cost tablet with a 7-inch touch screen, ARM 11 processor and 256 MB RAM on Android 2.2 operating system. It has two universal serial bus (USB) ports. For applications, the Aakash has access to Getjar, an independent market, rather than the Android market.This ambitious programme, which is an initiative to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities through e-learning, has been hit by many launch and quality snags.The first version of the tablet, which was officially launched in October, 2011, faced quality issues compelling the government to work on an upgraded version that was renamed Aakash IV. For this, the government formed a committee for R&D and its timely delivery in December 2011, but despite the completion of its design and the tender process the device is yet to reach its end-customers – students of 25,000 colleges and 400 universities it will link.
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