Union Telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said that the government is keen on selling the third version of the indigenous Aakash tablet at a highly affordable price of ₹1,500.
"I asked Rajat Moona (Director General, C-DAC) to help us in Aakash. Let us take that Aakash to the people of this country for a sum of ₹1,500." Sibal said at an event in Delhi, reported PTI.
The third-generation Aakash tablet is expected to roll out this year with improved specs, such as a faster processor, latest Android operating system and bigger memory space.
At present, Canadian company DataWind sells Aakash-2 tablets to the Indian government for a price of ₹2,363. In turn, the government offers them to students for a subsidised price of ₹1,130.
DataWind had bagged a contract from India to produce the first and second versions of the Aakash tablet. The first version, which was rolled out in October 2011, was panned by tech critics for its low battery capacity, unresponsive resistive touch screen, slow processing speed, and out-dated Android 2.2 OS.
The much improved Aakash-2 tablet was released in November last year. The tablet's unveiling was marred by allegations that it was a cheap import from China.
Later, DataWind Chief Suneet Singh Tuli clarified that the Aakash-2 tablet was originally designed in India, but for "expediency sake" the mother boards and kits were manufactured in China.
Now, the third Aakash tablet is in the process of development under the guidance of IIT-Bombay Prof Deepak B Phatak, Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT-Madras and other partners. Many IIT students across India will also be involved in the project.
According to latest reports, about 50 lakh Aakash 3 tablets are expected to be rolled out in the next phase, the global tender for which may be floated in February, PTI had reported.