During its launch, Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said, “To improve the system of education in India. Soon, a 35 dollar computer will be made available to every child in school. The tablet shall help enhance the quality of learning of children.”
Ironically, days after its launch doubts are being raised whether Aakash Tablet will really serve the purpose, whether it can aid students and improve the quality of education in the country. However, unfazed by the negative outlook surrounding the ‘fully sold-out low cost gadget’, its makers (Datawind) are preparing to launch the next version of it, the Ubislate Plus, which will have a few better specifications.
According to experts, the new version will have a look similar to the Chinese tablets and have the SIM card option.
Pricing: For those who think that Aakash comes at an astonishing low price-is really cheap, here are some figures:
Tablet cost – Rs 2500
Shipping cost – Rs. 200
A 4GB or 8GB MicroSD card – Rs 500 to Rs 800
No earphones given, purchase one – At least Rs. 400
Total: Rs 4000
Faulty Processor: The gadget may not be able to perform multiple tasks because the Android OS application would require enough memory to run a few applications and graphics. This can be understood from the fact that the cheapest Android mobiles from ‘Spice’ are equipped with 600 MHz processor, whereas the Aakash has just 336 MHz processor. So, half of it would always be kept on use for just running the OS.
Low memory + short storage = no entertainment: Aakash tablet can’t store heavy files and large number of songs since it has less video storage capacity. Although, the tablet’s memory can be expanded to 32GB but that would require more cash spending since a MicroSD card of 8GB is available for a price of around Rs 800 to 1000, making the cost of gadget exceed Rs 2500, as fixed by the government.
Low battery, 2100 mAh: Experts say the Aakash Tablet does not have a powerful battery backup either. A longer lasting battery is important for a hassle free experience on a gadget like Aakash with comparatively big screen. This is significant since cheaper Android phone available in market come with a 1500 mAh battery, for mere 3 to 3.5-inch screens.
In such a case, most of the battery would be drained from that 2100 mAh capacity to just run the Aakash tablet. Although, the Datawind claims Aaakash has 180 minutes of power backup, but the firm fails to mention what kind of usage is possible with it. It the firm tries to limit the storage, its low processor will slow down the web browsing and reading, but can make the battery last for a max of 3 hours.
Poor display, reflects light: Aakash tablet’s screen resolution is very poor as its basic display has no High Definition output. Its screen reflects the light, and at its maximum brightness too, the tablet won’t be able to display the stuff well in the bright conditions. So, this restricts the use to use the tablet in a closed area, not under the sun.
Touchscreen is resistive, but too resistive: Unlike other sophisticated gadgets, Aakash’ touchscreen feature is said to be too resistive during a push and drag sequence or to select an icon or browsing through other applications.
Heating up quickly: The processor installed in Aakash is heating up too quickly, experts say, as it is over-burdened to sustain speed needed to multitask. The tablet gets heated up within an hour of continuous usage, which has been confirmed through actual users who tried using the Wi-Fi and browsing the web for an hour.
No Bluetooth support: Aakash Tablets lack support for a USB dongle, unlike other high-tech devices like Ainol Novo 7 tablet that comes with the price of USD 100 and has support for any USB dongle. This feature enables the dongle to use any 3G SIM for the network connection.
No Android Market, no application upgrade: The Aakash Tablet misses the Android marketplace and that limits the usage to the given apps. Those who know how to get things done on it would try to install it separately, but the target buyers (in the rural areas) may have little knowledge of Androids.
Hardware won’t support upgrades: If at all you are trying to use your skills, and install 3rd party applications, the fact remains that many of the latest applications would need the latest Android OS, at least the gingerbread 2.3 version. But with the 366 MHz processor, upgrade would be difficult too.
Wi-Fi connectivity and poor network in India: With Aakash Tablet having the Wi-Fi option, poor connectivity is going to be a big impediment for users in rural areas. Even the major Metropolitan cities in India struggle in providing Wi-Fi networks through the service providers, so one can easily imagine how will the users get the Wi-Fi network in rural areas?
No external speakers: As there is no external speakers connected to the device. Audio would need earphones and that would cost money.