Tuesday 25 September 2012

Datawind starts Aakash 2 supply to IIT Bombay, October launch likely

Datawind has started supplying units of Aakash 2 to IIT Bombay. In a statement, the company revealed that an October launch of the tablet is likely. Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli told PTI, “Supplies are on to IIT Bombay. In the next few weeks, it should be launched. I do not have the exact date, but HRD Minister (Kapil Sibal) has said he wants to launch on the anniversary date which is October 5”. However, Tuli added that the launch would depend on Sibal’s schedule. While refusing to disclose any further, Tuli added that the supplies to IIT Bombay had begun a month and a half ago.

Tuli went on to add that the company had completed most of the pre-paid bookings, and it will now start focusing on supplies for unpaid bookings. "Out of 55 lakh orders, 4 to 5 per cent were pre-paid bookings. Maybe in a week or 10 days, all the pre-paid will be done. Then we will focus on pre-bookings. We are giving them offers to upgrade to Android 4.4 version," he said.
In mid-August this year, we reported about Kapil Sibal affirming that the Aakash 2 tablet would be launched in the country "very soon". Earlier this month, PC maker Lenovo shared that it was difficult to have a tablet offering a great user experience at a price as that proposed for India’s dream tablet, i.e., Rs. 2,276 ($41).

In June this year, Sibal had announced that 100,000 units of the Aakash 2 tablet would be provided to engineering colleges, deliveries for which were expected to begin last month. Sibal said, "That was the dream and I, as minister for Human Resource Development, asked myself the question can I provide a tablet to the students throughout the country that costs a reasonable amount so that all children can afford it and yet is able to deliver through the best technology, the vast information available on the net to them sitting wherever they are. We have realised a dream that was germinated a few years ago. We have been able to tell the world that through our frugal innovation system we can conquer the world and that's exactly what we need to do for India as a country".

Earlier reports surrounding the Aakash 2 launch indicated that the tablet would run on Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) OS, priced aggressively at Rs 2,263. It comes packed with more features and enhanced speed than its predecessor. Talk about Android v4.0 (ICS) being included in Aakash 2 began in April, when Suneet Singh Tuli stated in an email that the Aakash 2 tablet will have 2GB flash storage, an 800MHz processor and 256MB RAM, which should be enough to handle ICS. Aakash 2 is a significant upgrade over the original Aakash tablet. The initial version of the tablet had a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, which failed to respond to touch. It ran Android v2.2 (Froyo) on a 366MHz processor, based on an older ARM architecture. The Aakash 2 tablet is likely to be replaced by a successor, which will have a dual-core Cortex - A9 processor, by the end of this year.

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