Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal has revealed that the Aakash 2, a new and improved version of the world's cheapest tablet, will be launched very soon with a host of upgraded features.
Sibal said that the improved version is fitted with a faster processor and enhanced battery life among other features, such as Internet access everywhere and a capacitive screen. There is still no indication on as to how much the tablet will be priced at, but chances are that it will not cost very much more than its predecessor which was just Rs 2,276.
But with companies such as Micromax, WishTel and Zen mobile offering a slew of low cost Android based tablets, how well will Aakash 2 fare in an increasingly crowded and competitive low cost tablet market? The Aakash will likely be cheaper than these tablets, but not by very much.
And with the features these tablets offer, it is also highly likely that many consumers won't mind paying a couple of thousand more for a tablet that is faster and has much more features.
This is a look at some tablets that are likely to give the Aakash a run for its money:
The Kobian costs just Rs 3,999 and like Aakash is targeted at students. It facilitates web surfing, email access, and support for video, audio and eBooks. Its features include an Android 2.3 Operating System, Wi-fi, a resistive touchscreen and a 1GHz core processor. You also get 512 MB RAM and 4GB internal storage, which is expandable to 32GB through microSD. USers also have the option of buying an external keyboard.
Like the Aakash, the Attitude Daksha is a homegrown tablet, and is priced at Rs 5,399 and was launched in Kerala by Telmoco Development Labs. The Daksha Attitude is a 7-inch tablet with a 5-inch capacitive touch screen, a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor with 512 MB DDR3 RAM. It has a HDMI port, Micro SD slot, 3.5 mm audio out, Micro USB port and OTG connector for 3G Dongle and RJ 45lAN cable.
A statement by the manufacturers said Daksha is capable of 1080p full HD video streaming and has dedicated 400 MHzGPU for advanced flash Apps, Interactive Apps and full HD videos.
The Ira Thing costs only Rs 4000 while its more powerful upgrade (Ira Thing 2) costs Rs 6500. The Ira Thing 2 in particular, is a powerful tablet for the price, containing Android Ice Cream Sandwich, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory (expandable up to 32 GB) as well as a 1.5 GHz processor.
The tablet also contains a 7-inch multi-touch LCD touchscreen and a battery that it claims will provide browsing time of around four hours. It also has a 1.3 MP front-facing camera, supports WiFi and HDMI port. It comes pre-loaded with several TV and e-news apps providing access to over 120 channels and 55 newspapers and supports 14 Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.
Priced at Rs 5,999, the UltraTab which is powered by Android 4.0 (Ice cream sandwich), comes with a 7 inch screen, a 1.3 megapixel camera, 1.2 Ghz processor, 2800 mAh battery, and 32 GB expandable memory.
One of the key selling points of the tab is a feature called NextGen Tv. NexGen Tv offers users the option of viewing over 100 live channels as well as the option of video on demand.
* Wammy 7
In addition to having an ice cream sandwich OS, the Wammy has a 7-inch capacitive 5 point touchscreen, contains a USB port 2.0 for 3G Dongle and RJ 45lAN cable and a microSD slot. it is fueled by a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A10 All Winner processor with 512 MB DDR3 RAM.
The Funbook and the Funbook pro are two extremely popular options in the sub Rs 10,000 tablet market in India. The pro has a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution.
It includes a 1.2Ghz single core processor, 1GB RAM, dual Mali 400 GPU and 8GB internal memory that can be expanded with a microSD card. It also has a front VGA camera for video chats, HDMI output and USB on-the-go support for connecting USB drives and USB 3G dongles.
Both the Funbook and the Pro are preloaded with various apps such as YouTube, Text Editor, Adobe PDF, and Flash.