The “Aakash” to bring the digital world to all!

Finally, a tablet computer within my budget!

The “Aakash,” which translates to “the sky” (or cloud… anyone?) in English, will be released soon to all in India.

Yes, India does have the epic iPad, but most Indians can’t afford one of those (not even this Indian 😦 ) Only the most wealthy can get their hands on that Apple product. The Aakash will be like an alternative to the iPad… Mind you, it will not run as fast nor will it support many of the apps Apple users have grown to love. The touchscreen is supposedly not as sensitive and awesome as the iPad, either. But, on the positive side, it utilizes Google’s Android system; the only iOS that can compete with Apple.

Some things the Aakash does do well: its design supports two USB ports, an LCD touchscreen and it is the size of a paperback book. It has a 660 megahertz processor (that’s relatively slow btw), can let users browse the web and even engage in teleconferencing. Many government officials in India believe this device can make technology affordable in schools and the marketplace all over India.

So, the big issue is whether this device is better based on the price. Aakash has been field tested recently by university students in India, and most have said it does well given its price, but those who have laptops and are familiar with iPads will not enjoy the transition. They do agree that the Aakash will be a great alternative for introducing social media and the Internet to the poor.

Personally, if this will help students learn about the wonders of the Internet and connect them so that they can have many of the same resources as other children, I think this will be a great product. If it turns out to be terrible and never work, then I will be heavily disappointed. The thing about most of the testers’ complaints is that they are comparing it to technology that many of the Aakash’s target audience will probably never have the chance to play with. The target audience won’t get to browse on an iPad or check their Facebook on a MacBook Pro… This is just not feasible.

If these testers think about the audience this product is being marketed to, they should hopefully understand that the Aakash will help those people and they won’t know the difference. I believe the educational value outweighs the inefficiency of the processor and touchscreen factors.

Lastly, I really have no say in this matter… I have not tested out the Aakash yet, but hopefully I will in the future!

Would you ever buy/support a product you know is slower and terrible just because it was cheaper?