Coming at a price tag of Rs 1,130 for students, the new version ‘Aakash 2′, which will be made available to students of engineering colleges and universities to begin with, is now powered by a processor running at 1 GHz, has 512 MB RAM, a 7 inch capacitive touch screen and battery life of three hours on Wi-Fi.

The advanced version of the low-cost tablet Aakash was launched in New Delhi by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The screen resolution is 800×480 pixels. The previous version of Aakash had a 7-inch resistive touch screen. Akash 2 runs Android 4.0 aka Ice-Cream Sandwich and has front facing VGA camera along with Wi-fi support. It has 4GB (internal) flash memory, which is expandable up to 32GB using a micro SD card.

It has been developed under the aegis of IIT Bombay with the active support of C-DAC. Datawind is rolling out the device.

“The price is Rs 2,263 at which the government purchases the device from us. The government subsidises it by 50 percent and it will be distributed to students at Rs 1,130,” said Datawind CEO Suneet Tuli.

He said the government is also trying to encourage the state governments to chip in by subsidising it further so that the device can eventually be available to students free of cost.

The first one lakh devices will be provided to students of engineering colleges and universities and subsequently these will be distributed to others.

About 22 crore students will get the device across the country in the next five to six years. By coming Monday alone, 20,000 devices are expected to reach out to the students.

Over 15,000 teachers at 250 colleges have been trained on how to use the Aakash for education. It will be used for classroom teaching.

According to a statement by IIT Bombay, students will be trained to develop applications and content through team projects.

“We will especially focus on application in Indian languages. Economically disadvantaged children from rural areas will receive the same good quality education like the others,” the statement said.

The first version of Aakash called Aakash 1 as launched by the government in October 2011. However, it was marked by testing problems and other specifications.

The advanced version, thereafter was sent to the Union Ministers and the state chief ministers for their feedback.

“The response from them was very good with Defence Minister A K Antony describing it as a game changer for

education. The Labour Ministry wanted the device to be distributed among ITI students,” said HRD Ministry officials.

With inputs from PTI

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