NEW DELHI: It's been a long time coming, but the Aakash 2 is finally here, and it's looking rather good.
Unike its predecessor, which was built to a price and barely usable, Aakash 2, launched yesterday by president Pranab Mukherjee and union HRD minister Pallam Raju on ‘National Education Day', is a stable, usable commercial product.
In three months of use at CyberMedia, we found the big change in responsiveness coming from the capacitive touch-screen and the 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor (up from 366 MHz), along with the doubling of RAM and storage to 512 MB and 4 GB respectively. As we had noted based on a prototype unit in April, it was already looking a lot better with just the new display.
The display looks a little better too, and is quite sharp indoors. Outdoors, in daylight, readability drops sharply, and you have to keep the brightness on maximum-and then the battery life drops. Indoor, we got 3 hours of use from the 3AH battery, versus 2 hours from the older 2 AH battery, using video and WiFi.
The model we have been testing is the UbiSlate 7Ci, the commercial version of the Aakash 2, identical to the Aakash 2, running Android 4.0 ICS - Ice Cream Sandwich. I haven't yet come across a buyer (or reviewer) in India who's got a 7Ci - I've been asking on Twitter and Facebook - which is odd given that these were launched in April. This might suggest continuing supply issues.
The Aakash 2 will sell to college students for Rs 1,130, after a 50% government subsidy over the purchase price from DataWind. The equivalent UbiSlate 7ci sells commercially for Rs 4,499, reflecting a further 50% markup.