Rumours surrounding the Aakash 3 tablet have already begun doing the rounds. The tablet will reportedly come with a faster processor, support both Linux and Android operating systems and will have advanced memory, Deepak B Phatak, committee member and a professor in IIT Bombay's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, told The Times of India. The report states that the global tender for the tablet will be floated in February, and as many as 50 lakh units of Aakash 3 tablet will be rolled out in the next phase.
What's eye-grabbing here is that researchers and professors at IIT Bombay are working towards packing more apps and more open source software on the tablet. Phatak also hinted towards a SIM card slot on the tablet, allowing users to use it as a 'communication device'. He was quoted as saying, "Our aim is to imbibe the usage of tablets in the education system and create an ecosystem for this. We have distributed Aakash tablets to 250 colleges across the country and asked them to come up with newer ways to use the device."
Initial Aakash 2 units not for students
Phatak, together with Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT Madras, will be making the new tablet accompanied by hundreds of students and partners. Interestingly, students working on the Aakash 3 aim to develop an app that can tell the pulse rate. The third iteration of the 'poor man's tablet' is expected to have a larger distribution and servicing system to enable users to get their tablets repaired locally.
Interestingly, Phatak suggested two models for the upcoming tablet: one for schools and the one for colleges. He added that the option for students could be made available at Rs 2,236, while the one for college students would be higher.
The second version of the low-cost Aakash tablet was only recently launched in the country. It was recently revealed that students will not receive the initial 1 lakh units of the Aakash 2. Instead, the initial lot will be used for testing, and empowering teachers. What's more, there is currently no proposal to provide any of the initial units to students.
In a written statement to the Lok Sabha, Union Human Resource Development Minister, MM Pallam Raju, earlier this month stated that there is currently no proposal to offer the initial units of the Aakash 2 to students. “Presently, there is no proposal in this regard... In the first phase one lakh tablets are for the purpose of testing and teacher empowerment. They would not be distributed to students in the first phase,” he said. Raju was asked whether the government planned to offer Aakash 2 tablets to students, especially those from poor backgrounds and rural areas for free.
The development is expected to raise quite a few eyebrows, as it was widely believed the Aakash 2 would come to students first, just like its predecessor, the Aakash, aimed to.
The Permanent Mission of India to United Nations, New York hosted a special event to unveil and launch the Aakash 2 at the United Nations in late November. Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki-moon was the Chief Guest at the event, which was attended by over 500 invitees, including 65 Ambassadors/PRs, media delegates, NGOs and select members of the Indian community.