The $20 Aakash 2, and the Future of the Aakash Tablets


The Indian government started something great with the original Aakash 2 tablet. It set out to revolutionize the Indian education, and to help hundreds of millions of its own people to get better education through touchscreen computers that are much easier to learn than normal computers, and through the help of Android, an open source and free OS.

The original Aakash was not very useful, with very poor battery life, extremely slow processor (300 Mhz ARM11), resistive screen and some old phone version of Android. But it was a start. And I'm glad they continued improving it, because Aakash 2 seems worlds better than the original.


Aakash 2 specs:

  • 1GHz Cortex A8 processor
  • Mali 400 GPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • OS : 4.0.3 Android
  • 7" Capacitive TouchDisplay
  • 800×480 resolution
  • 4GB of internal memory, microSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 3,000 mAh battery

The ARMv7 Cortex A8 processor is much faster than the previous CPU. Remember it was just 2 years ago when that kind of chip was used in the most powerful phone of the year – the Galaxy S. The Mali 400 GPU was in the Galaxy S2 (presumably this is not the overclocked version from GS3), which was also a leading flagship a year later, so it's a very powerful GPU.

The RAM seems sufficient for now, especially when you consider this tablet is only $20 (subsidized from $40 by the Indian Government). The screen is finally capacitive, which means you'll get a proper touch experience. Unfortunately, it's still only 800×480 resolution, which is getting long in the tooth for tablets, but that's the kind of sacrifices they have to make to deliver such a cheap tablet.

The OS that it's running is Android 4.0, so it finally has a good tablet user experience, along with the smoothness that comes along with ICS. The 4GB storage seems decent, and you still get a microSD slot. The battery is 3,000, and should make the tablet last around 5 hours.


Aakash 3 specs

Again, I think the Aakash 2 is a major improvement over the original Aakash tablet, especially for the insanely low price, but I think they can do even better next year, and a provide a tablet that will compete pretty well even with other low-end but more expensive tablets.

Here's what I think Aakash 3 will need next year:

  • 1.2 Ghz dual core Cortex A7 (very low-power and cheap CPU)
  • Mali 450 GPU (cheap mainstream GPU, as powerful as the Galaxy S3 GPU)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • OS : ¬†Android Jelly Bean (for very smooth performance)
  • 7" 1024×600 screen (much better resolution for web browsing and videos)
  • 4GB of internal memory, microSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 4,000 mAh battery

If they can provide all this for under $50, or under $25 subsidized, it would be an amazing deal. Aakash 3 would already be at the point, where it will work perfectly fine for 90% of the people using it, with seemingly no compromise in performance or battery life. With Jelly Bean and with a dual core Cortex A7 chip, the tablet should be plenty fast.