The Low Cost Access Device(LCAD) is named as Aakash.
The National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in February 2009 with a budget of Rs. 4612 crores.
The objective of this Mission is to leverage the potential of ICT in providing high-quality, personalized, and interactive knowledge modules over the internet in a any-time, any-where mode. It aims to convert India’s demographic advantage into a knowledge powerhouse by nurturing and honing the knowledge and skills of our higher education student and faculty population of around 22 million.
The Mission provides guidance and funding for 48 different line items. The three main legs of the Mission are Content Creation, Connectivity and Low Cost Access Device (LCAD). The Low Cost Access Device (LCAD) developed under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) and is given a name ‘Aakash’.
The Mission has actively worked on the design, development and production (in India) of a Low Cost Access cum Computing Device. This is a unique device and is a first of its kind in the world. There is no other device that offers so much functionality at such a low cost.
The development of this device has been done entirely in India. The purchase cost of this device without any subsidy is Rs. 2,276, all inclusive, delivered in India.
This unique device is meant for students across India. Using this device, and the connectivity also provided under this Mission, learners will be able to access all the thousands of items of content available on the Sakshat (One Stop Educational Portal of India) and other educational web-sites.
The student does not get bound to a brick and mortar classroom, but can access world-class lectures and educational content on this device, in anytime, anywhere mode even in the most remote corner of this country. This will definitely help to students and teachers to live, learn and work successfully in an increasingly complex, information-rich and knowledge based society. Within a sound educational setting, such technology like LCAD can enable students to become:
- Capable Information Technology Users
- Information seekers,analyzers, and evaluators
- Problem solvers and decision makers
- Creative and effective users of productivity tools
- Communicators, collaborators, publishers, and producers
- Informed, responsible and contributing citizens.
Learners, therefore, are no longer hampered by the lack of infrastructure or facilities but have the entire power of ICt available to them for educational purposes.The HRD ministry distributed its low-cost tablet to 500 college students from all over the country on Wednesday 5th-Oct,2011 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. The device that took six years to develop and was once subject to widespread ridicule comes dirt-cheap at Rs 2,250.
The government would pick up 50% of the cost and a student will be able to buy it for Rs 1,125.
Indian government hopes the device could herald a paradigm shift in making technology accessible to marginal sections of society and bridge the digital divide. It is likely to undergo intense scrutiny by the highly-competitive tablet market.
Christened Aakash or the Low-Cost Access Device, the tablet developed by IIT, Rajasthan and other leading institutions, packs all common features found in Android tablets.
Sporting a 7-inch touchscreen, Aakash runs on Android 2.2 operating software. According to specifications, it has a high-definition video co-processor for good multimedia experience. The device comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and has support for optional 3G modems. Two full-size USB ports are integrated into the unit. Aakash can be used as an ebook reader.
N K Sinha, additional secretary, HRD ministry and the man behind the lowcost tablet, said considering the huge demand, the price would come down further. Sinha, the first person who conceived that a low-cost tablet could be produced in India, was once ridiculed for taking the nation for a ride.On Wednesday HRD minister Kapil Sibal complimented him: “You took the nation on a pleasant ride.”
Produced by Datawind, 100,000 tablets would be given out to students over the next year.However, the tablet won’t be available to school students immediately. The cost is being borne by the National Mission on Education through Information & Communication Technology. This deals exclusively with higher education, reason why Aakash cannot be given to school students. The HRD ministry is likely to move another cabinet note for making it accessible to school students.
Student Jayesh Parmar from Gujarat receiving Aakash from Shri Kapil Sibal, Hon’ble Minister Human Resource Development (HRD).
Student (from left) Sandhya Ninjani from Gujarat, demonstrating LCAD Tablet PC Aakash at Vigyan Bhavan,New Delhi.
Students of Gujarat outside Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi after finishing Launching of Aakash.
20 students from Gujarat with co-ordinator Prof. Dr.Ashok Patel (second from right) cheering with Aakash.
Features of Aakash
- 7″ TFT Resistive Touchscreen
- Android 2.2 OS
- Conexant Processor with HD Video co-processor
- 256 MB Ram, 2GB Flash
- Wireless LAN WiFi IEEE 802.11
- Microphone & Stereo Earphone Jack
- Push-Pull SD Card slot & 2 USB port
- Weight 350 g Size: 188×116×12mm