OLPC head slams 'Aakash dream' in a no holds barred interview

Surely it seems that it'll take a lot more for the Aakash tablet to hold its ground in the Indian market, than just distressing rumours and bad feedback; maybe even sharp words will come its way. And it did. In an interview with the Economic Times, Head of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, Satish Jha most definitely made the makers of the Aakash tablet shift uncomfortably in their seats. Jha, in his no-holds barred interview with the publication slammed the Aakash tablet, calling it a 'pre-beta technology', among other things. If that wasn't enough, he even went on to add that the Aakash tablet was incompetent to fully address the education needs of the students in the country. Without mincing words, he stated, "China has refined the craft of manufacturing into its second nature, making the nation, the electronics factory of the world. Then, how would India make the "lowest cost" computer in a tablet form? It has never been known for creating computing technologies. It even does not manufacture microprocessors. It does not have the scale. So what magic will help her realise the dream that has it so energised?"

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Did the government deliver a half-baked attempt with the Aakash tablet?


Further in his interview, Jha questioned the way the government went about with the manufacturing of the Aakash tablet, and moreso, in such a huge number. He argued that with the Aakash tablet, the government planned to do what U.S and China couldn't. He stated, "Indian government’s non -technology ministry came to a simple logic. They argued that (for) each of the components that go into making a tablet, cost is a given amount. Adding it all up, it should be possible to make something for less." Jha even went on to add that the fact that the Aakash tablet is an Indian make is also debatable, considering that "virtually every piece was bought from the cheapest part of the world market and slapped together without any significant experience of making such devices."

Coming down to the core purpose of the Aakash tablet, the OLPC head stated that Aakash was not competent enough to fully address the education needs of the students in the country. Elaborating on that bit, Jha explained that the Aakash tablet was designed to be an access device, and was ideal for use by someone who is already educated enough to use, and not for students to begin learning on. He added that what the government did actually manage to do is consider giving each student a computer.


To read through the entire interview, click here. Do you agree with the points raised by the OLPC Head? Alternatively, to know all about the Aakash tablet, click here.

Published Date: Jan 26, 2012 03:48 pm | Updated Date: Jan 26, 2012 03:48 pm