Indian Government issued Android tablet called folly

Oct 6, 2011
20

Since all the way back in July of 2010 we've been talking about this tablet that was supposed to be undeniably affordable at sub-$50 USD and running Android - now it's basically arrived and, well, it's a dud. Wouldn't you know it, the group that's been hired by the Indian government to create the tablet decided to make the tablet with cheap enough parts to make a profit on it, and boy oh boy is this tablet a piece of junk. But it's the thought that counts, right?

Note that in the past, this tablet had a different name, but now, according to the Wall Street Journal, it has a brand new name - perhaps to re-invigorate the government on the idea. Where you'll see the name as Sakshat tablet in the two posts listed above, the name has been changed recently to “Aakash,” or “sky.” If the reviews are in for this device on the usability end, especially when compared to the rest of the tablet computers in the world at large today, this "Sky" tablet doesn't really stand a chance.

For example, mister Rajat Agrawal, executive editor of gadget reviewers BGR India, noted that for the price, the specs might seem right in-line, but:

"Because of the price there is a lot of excitement. People might use it initially but if it is not user friendly they will give up within a week." - Agrawal

On the other hand, Kapil Sibal, Indian human resources development minister, whose ministry oversaw the development of the device, said the tablet would be called "India’s gift to the world’s children – and an anti-poverty tool." Sibal went on to note:

“Today we demonstrate to the world that we will not falter in our resolve to secure our future for our children. Let me not limit the achievements of this great enterprise to only our children…this is for all of you who are disempowered.” - Sibal

The specifications for this device, also provided by the WSJ, are thus:

Technical specifications:
Operating system: Android 2.2 FroYo
Screen: 7″ resistive
Processor: 366 MHz + HD video co-processor
RAM: 256 MB
Flash memory: 2GB + 2GB Micro-SD (expandable up to 32 GB)
USB ports: 2
Network: WiFi (GPRS & 3G options)

So what's the real deal here - is it really our place to say that the tablet isn't good enough when you compare it to, oh, I don't know, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, another Android device made for global distribution? Or is it important to embrace the idea that computers, in tablet form that is, should be bottom-floor inexpensive and not necessarily the best build on the globe?

Then again once again, what if these tablets are so poorly made that they break upon extended use? What's the good if these devices aren't functional after a single school year? Without actually holding one of these magic machines in our hands, we simply cannot know. We're hoping for the best.

Aakash, or Sky, will be made available to Indian graduate students exclusively for the small $35 or $55 price, while the commercial version, called UbiSlate, will cost much closer to $70, all of this converted to USD, of course.


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