We are back with a story on India’s low-cost Aakash 4 and this time we claim that the latest edition of the tablet will cost more than Government’s proposed cost – so much so it will even cost more than its predecessors.
The project has gained a lot of traction over the last couple of years considering the immense scope of low-cost tablets in India and across the globe. Government of India opened up bidding for Aakash 4 and as many as 18 different companies including the likes of Acer, DataWind, Dell, HCL, HP, Intel, MicroMax, Microsoft, WishTel and ITI joined the race with their bids.
Let’s look as some of the proposed specifications of Aakash 4. The government wants manufacturers to build a tablet that packs at least a 1GHz dual-core processor, 7-inch screen, 1 GB RAM, 2G, 3G and even 4G connectivity, Bluetooth, 4 GB on-board storage with microSD slot and should also have voice calling feature.
These are descent enough specifications for an educational tab, but to achieve all this in an outlay that maxes out at Rs. 2,500 (£25) is something that even Chinese whitebox vendors won’t be able to do. The £25 price tag puts it right along with Raspberry Pi, which is a bare bone credit card sized computer without a display or cellular connectivity option.
Vendors have already revealed that they may be able to achieve this at the proposed price, but only if the Government is ready to wave off the import duties on components that will be used to build Aakash 4. The fact is some international vendors even withdrew their bids owing to costs and tender process norms.
We are highly skeptical about any company manufacturing Aakash 4 with the desired specifications and that too at the proposed outlay. The bidding process ends on January 28 and we will wait until then to find out who has won the bid and how does Aakash 4 pans out.