An upgraded version of Aakash -- the low cost tablet billed as the cheapest computer in the world for students and the teaching community, is set to be launched "very soon", HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said today.
The improved version is fitted with a faster processor and enhanced battery life among other features.
"It (the idea of low cost computer) was rejected throughout the world and it was said that India would not be able to make it. Our HRD ministry was committed to the Aakash project and ultimately we came out with the first version of the Aakash which costs Rs 2,276.
"Now, Aakash-2 has been rolled out with battery life of three hours, 800MHz processor, providing internet access everywhere and it has a capacitive screen. The process to distribute this device has begun and it would be formally launched very soon," Sibal said here.
He was addressing the first convocation of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science ( BITS) at its Hyderabad campus.
The new improved version of Aakash had been inaugurated by Sibal at IIT-Bombay in June.
"That was the dream and I as minister for Human Resource Development, asked myself the question can I provide a tablet to the students throughout the country that costs a reasonable amount so that all children can afford it and yet is able to deliver through the best technology, the vast information available on the net to them sitting wherever they are," he said.
Sibal had announced in June that 100,000 upgraded Akash-2 tablets will be given to engineering colleges, for which deliveries were expected to begin in July.
"We have realised a dream that was germinated a few years ago. We have been able to tell the world that through our frugal innovation system we can conquer the world and that's exactly what we need to do for India as a country," the minister said.
Soon after its launch in October 2011, Aakash faced many a hiccup. Following this, IIT-Bombay was handed over the responsibility of the first phase of the project.