India backs Aakash 2 tablet based national education project

The country’s president has unveiled an upgraded version of the world’s cheapest tablet computer – despite the functionality and distribution problems faced by the device’s predecessor. Made by UK-based Datawind, the Aakash 2 has a longer battery life and is faster than an earlier version.
It is expected to go on sale in about a week, at 2,263 rupees ($40; £26). A right to information request filed by Indian media blog Medianama showed that only 572 of the first devices have been distributed, reaching fewer than 20 colleges. It is expected that the first 100,000 units of the latest tablet will be offered to students at colleges and universities at a subsidised price of 1,130 rupees ($20; £13) before appearing in stores.
The Aakash 2 was unveiled by the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday 11 November, India’s National Education Day.
"Technology-enabled learning is a very important aspect of education," said Mr Mukherjee at the event.
"This must be adapted to our specific needs and introduced expeditiously in all educational institutions across the country."
The Indian government believes that low-cost tablets can help revolutionise internet access across the country. At the moment, there are close to 150 million internet users in India, according to figures from Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), but it is still a relatively small proportion of the country’s 1.2 billion population.