18 May 2012

Educational Apps In Aakash2, The World's Cheapest Android Tablet

The company behind Aakash, the world's cheapest tablet, has launched Aakash 2 in two new versions where many of the earlier drawbacks are fixed. The new Android tablet sounds like a gold mine for students.
Kanak Joshi image
In January I wrote about this inexpensive Indian Android tablet and said I would have reason to come back to it. Now I have, and I thank developer Kanak Joshi who helped me with the research for this article.

Government support for Aakash
The Indian Government supports the development of the cheap Android
tablet, and that has led to the use of two names for what is
actually the same product. Aakash is the name of the tablet when it
is supplied to the Government for delivery to students across India
at a subsidized price. UbiSlate7 is the commercial version made available for all.

Two versions

Ubislate has now come in two new versions, Ubislate 7C and Ubislate 7+. They seem to be rather alike, and both are very cheap even if the price is a bit higher than for the first Aakash - around 50 EUR or 65 USD. The two versions are similar and only differ when it comes to display quality and internal storage.

Better battery and speed

The new Ubislate 7 uses a modified version of Android 2.3, with on-screen touch buttons. It is possible to use it as a phone, which you cannot do with the much more expensive iPad, but the Android tablet has no camera. The battery time of Ubislate 7 is three hours, and it is faster than the earlier versions. Ubislate 7 has WiFi & GPRS connectivity and 3G modems are supported via USB. More details can be found on the website of the developing company, DataWind.


Educational aim
As a former teacher I find it fascinating that this cheap Android tablet has so many tutorial apps included. Ubislate is primarily meant for students, to help bridge the digital divide in India, and it comes with a range of educational applications. All textbooks used in Indian secondary schools are there, just like the Wikipedia app and much more.

Long wait 
Like the former versions Ubislate 7C and 7+ has been sold out months before release, and people have been worried about when they would get their tablets. The buyers of Aakash 1 were probably disappointed when they finally received their purchases, but I hope the ones who waited for version 2 will be more satisfied.

Neither I nor Kanak have had the opportunity to test the new Android tablet, but I still wanted to tell you about it. There have been some complaints, for example about the too small touch buttons, and the price is higher than intended from the beginning. Still DataWind seems to be on the right track.

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