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PREDICTION FAIL: Where are those million tablets for Indian students?

India's human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal, emphatically promised on the Indian TV show Gadget Guru that the government would deliver one million $35 tablets to Indian students by the end of 2011.

Start watching at about 6:30 into the video.

The original promise by Sibal was a solar-powered touch tablet costing $35 distributed to a million students by the end of 2011. The current "Sakshat" or "Aakash" tablet costs about $50 (and $60 at retail) and the government is working on getting 100,000 units to students at some undetermined point in the future.
Ghanashyam Prabhu's profile photoJajati Samal's profile photoMax Huijgen's profile photoanup tilak's profile photo
:D At least they have a prototype which no one ever could get. And people talking about delivering water should be talking to the water department.

It is amazing that the people involved in Akash have the guts to show off a product, a hands on product which has even been reviewed by quite a few "tech" review guys and found it to be satisfactory.

Even though mass production might be a problem, but these folks know that they can get the BOM to at or below $50 for a reasonable product.
water is life.....if they can deliver this at time as promised, then everything else can be delivered on time as promised...
+Ghanashyam Prabhu Well said. +Vijayan Krishna Supramaniam I have seen Indians are the first and foremost in criticizing, complaining and putting India down in front of the rest of the world. Why so ? Constructive self-criticism is good, but self-pity very bad. Speaking of self-criticism +Mike Elgan you are right, Indian government has failed to deliver on its promise, as regards Aakash tablet.
+Mike Elgan lets be patient. This is something we learn in a developing economy. You must remember this politician need to go the masses for votes. They thrive on promises. The government is already pre occupied with the economy. I do not think it is priority even for the masses at this moment. Though appreciate the fact this initiative is noticed and is keenly followed. Hopefully 2012 will be the year where promises just do not remain promises.
Vijay let us here discuss Aakash the tablet, let other concerns discussed in appropriate forums
It's a good idea even if it takes a little longer to come to fruition
Whats so new about about governments failing to stand up to their promises. Happens everywhere all the time. So whats the point here? I am no Sibal sympathiser, if you follow Indian politics, you will know Sibal has major issues in hand (Lokpal) to make sure their party comes back to power again in the next general elections and surely Akash doesnt feature anywhere in those scheme of things.
I had read somewhere that lies are now measured in DeSibals
Yes, the product seems promising and game changing. Game changing not in terms of performace, but in terms of reach. In terms of reach to millions of people in India and abroad to whom price matters.
I am all time Apple fan but I have a huge problem with their pricing strategy. With that kind of access to technology and intimate relationship to design, they can make real good technology at lower prices to change lives of millions of people to whom Apple products are just a dream.

But yes, I am also biased to the fact that if you are good at doing stuff, don't do it for free. And for good stuff, you got to charge good money.

I believe, Datawind and the Indian academia have a real good edge with this product, especially in India. It doesn't really matter if they are off by 6 months or an year. If it becomes a reality with mass production, it's gonna sell crazy in the Indian market, the rural population and revolutionize matters in rural India where majority of population resides.

And that is what is important here. Technology reaching to mass.
Remember India has the second largest population in the world, and soon it might reach the top rank in this.
That is where usage model will come into picture, that is where the buying pattern is common, low price good product easy access and many more possibilities for education, for knowledge sharing.

That is where revolution is going to happen.
I think of it as the initial match stick to kindle the small fire and then it is the light of knowledge, information to spread through mass population.
Thanks to few who directed the engagement here in right direction (we need more of you) +Mike Elgan You may be right. But as +alexander mattam and +Ankur Agarwal mentioned in a Country like India there are Millions of Issues running down everyday for each of these politicians and Indians know this. I would also say, (without going into reasons of why) Indians would not have expected them to be delivered by 2011 and that is because right now every one is so focused of erasing corruption in Bureaucracy (esp after later half of 2011) that every minute is talked about "Lokpal" bill. But on positive side, seeing it available in market and HRD minister's plans - I think that is way too much progress (considering the literacy, federal/state education system in India, corruption along the delivery lines of this product and other related factors up-to actual delivery to children). I just hope first corruption gets stopped then delivering such devices wouldn't be an issue at all.
Systems and projects in India do not meet the targets mainly due to red tapes. Corruption and self made vigilantes have made bureaucrats that more ineffective and inefficient. A few individuals like E. Sreedharan (Metro Man) have made things get done irrespective of the system. We need more people like him.
Tablets in the hands of indian students would be a great thing. Lets hope that as we get closer to the elections in India, the politicians start delivering.
I used the last one laptop per child laptop. It wasn't bad. For something for kids.
they are constantly working on it and the new version is about to roll out this lets wait and watch
Sid J
More wasteful govt spending and subsidy burden goes up? What students need are buildings that protect them from the sun and rain, good teachers, and books. 
+Mike Elgan I would not call this a failure... The process of defining the specs and selection of the vendor seems to be carried out fine (i.e. without corruption). Another major side effect of the project is that the India and other developing countries will get a cheap tablet since the retail price is not much different from the subsidized price.
For all those who are saying this is wasteful expenditure from Govt. remember that you are able sit in India and post this stuff on G+ because 25 years back the Govt thought that investment in IT/telecom was as important as drinking water... Subsidy program require money and a country need to have a thriving economy to fund those subsidies. A small investment in tablets would make rural students compete in the international arena on a more equal footing.. It will make them believe that they can also realize their big dreams
+Pratik Kulkarni Who said it was new? The point is that calling people on failed predictions is fun.
i absolutely fail to see what positive effect a tablet is going to have on the targeted students.
Does the Minister really believe that spending X on these tablets will have a bigger bang than 1) improving the infrastructure of the grassroots educational institutions, 2) training the trainers, 3) recruiting more and better trainers, etc
India's problems won't be solved by 35/60 $ tablets or by guys like Sibal. India's problems won't be solved by the government.
The India of my childhood vs now has changed considerably. There is tremendous growth and tremendous amount of poverty.
India's future is in its youth. It is a pity when we look at a place like China where 4 people can sit together and decide to get rid of a few villages to build a new airport and yes the army will support it and people who are against it is either shot down or shut down. The world looks at the new airport and says, "wow, amazing development".

We are looking at an India which is just 65 years old and already in the top 10 of world economies. Not to mention, a 1000 years back India and China were the richest nations in the world. Maybe that resulted in colonization and 400 years of British occupation or should I say suppression and looting? (No, I didn't forget the Portugese or the French).

It took the US, 235 years to reach where it is now and I still wonder whether we have a perfect developed nation in America yet. I will keep wondering till we have a woman president as well as non-christian president. I think US has a long way to go, but it will.

Indians shouldn't be bothered about 35/60$ tablets. Indians should just learn to be self sufficient and maintain a sustained growth. There will be a cumulative bull whip effect (not exactly the trickle down effect) which will raise the living standards of the poor. You can look it up and see how many actually went over the poverty line in the last few years.

It saddens me when an Indian makes a comment like "Ask them to get clean water" or something similar. From what I know about someone like Mahatma, you actually be the change what you want to see. Hence, my comment, India's future lies in the hands of it's youth.

Indians should be proud about what they achieved despite 50 years of Nehruvian Socialism, ever increasing population, strained resources, disputed borders, non-democratic nuclear neighbors, filthy corruption, regionalism, right wing religious propaganda and did I forget terrorism? MInisters like Sibal shouldn't be the real hinderance to development because if you think there will be better politicians in the future then take a look at the US.

P.S :- My comment is completely irrelevant to this post, but I just wanted my fellow Indians to understand that 35 years from now, let us hope there is not much left to achieve.. You can of course refer the BRIC report from Goldman Sachs.
Thats Just the way how the Govt. of India works. If they say the end of this year that means it'll take them at least one more year. The fact of the matter is that no one really gives a damn about the tablets, coz what are students in far flung areas gonna do with them. They can't connect to the net coz there aint no wi-fi there. Electricity issues will bug them all the time etc etc. The govt of India has to solve the more basic problems first before delving into providing portable computers to all.
That said, I am happy they at least manages to build the tablet, Lets see what happens to it now....
the 50 $ indian tablet , also called dirty tablet due to its low memory and bad quality.
+Ashkan Gorji I am not sure who s got the hands on to this one, but from one of the reviews that I sw, the tablet could stream videos and was enabling browsing pretty well.
So that just the beginning, there could apps, documentation, note taking, video lectures, shared educational material, tools usage, I hear the phone capability is coming, so voice conferecing and what not to link students in rural areas to who material in the urban is far far from available.
Just think of the Khan Academy being accessible to millions of kids in rural India,
I just get goosebumps thinking of innumerable solutions.. Over a couple decades back Steve Jobs tried to revolutionze personal computing by introducing the mac and NeXT.. I see a similar anology with tablets and with tablets at such lower prices.. Everyone could have one.

And Rs. 2000 is a real good affordable price in India. Rural people have mobile phones which cost more than that..
There are many other issues like anti Corruption biil ,*2G Scam* , FDI in Retail giving sleepless nights to Kapil Sibal and others.I am also an engineering student in a prestigious Government University and i don't see a possibility of govt doing any efforts in this regard unless they can solve the former issues.Any way , Happy new year +Mike Elgan :)
+Mike Elgan We as Indians have absolute faith in our Indian politicians that this will never see the light of day. And even if it does, I am pretty sure that it would be pretty much useless. Our Kapil Sibal is pretty good at creating ruckus and talking nonsense. The guy wanted to censor Facebook and Google so that he can remove "Offensive " content about his poilitical party from the internet ! You can read the story here :
To all those who have complete faith in our politicians that this will never see the light of the day - Guys, this thing has already been launched. A few of my college friends have it and I have played with it myself. So credit where credit is due, the government somewhat delivered on its promise. "Somewhat" because it is priced higher than they initially promised and they couldn't produce a million tablets, but I am sure they will because I have heard the number of pre-orders are quite high (One of my friends want it so bad, even after me giving him my review of the tablet). So +Mike Elgan, yes they predicted wrong but only short by few months.

As for how the device is - the first time I used it I was like what is this piece of shit! (The person's whose tablet I was using said that I have been "spoilt" by the iPad.) And I realized he was right, it is wrong to compare this tablet to any other tablet in the market, let alone an iPad. For Rs. ~2000, it is a very good product. You can browse, check emails etc. (though while doing that you will have to keep in mind that it is not touch screen rather it is press screen ;-) )
Overpromise and underdeliver - I thought that was normal in politics! Considering it is India, i would be surprised if atleast 50% is achieved!!
atleast govt in India takes initiative that no firm or govt can think of
Indian government failed in each and every area. Government Can't able provide basic facility
Ghanashyam Prabhu : aakash ,indian tablet, has the 366 mhz cpu , resolution:800 × 480 px . although it is tablet ,it runs android 2.2 ,specified for phones, so it deserves the name of dirty tablet. this name was given by cnn and bbc tech
I what Ive heard is its already getting in the hands of Indian Kids, 30000 to be precise... This is a massive project but finally showing some sign of success. Ive already booked General public version of the AkashPAD online.
+Ashkan Gorji dude what more do you want from that price? It's less that 2000 after subsidy... you won't even get a phone at that price with those specs, its meant for kids education, what do you propose? Give the kids ipad? If you honestly believe that I think you should fund it instead of government.... Also since ur saying bbc or cnn called it that, kindly give links to where its called dirty tab, lest we won't believe you.,,,,
I don't see any surprises here. As usual people who're in politics make promises without even thinking whether it's possible in time or not but they do make such statements all over the world. So do not believe them until you realize it. Its not just the case only in India. Its everywhere!!!
HI +John Larson and +Mike Elgan Educational 25$ PC will be available from British non profit organization end of January in first run of 10.000 Source +EuroTech
So they have managed to get the production process on its way now. Is it an extremely slow computer. Well it can output HD video so you can program games on it which is great as a kid learning how to program. You could also use them as a media console so the Raspberry Pi is a versatile mini PC running Unix and will come bundled with educational programs and an enormous support.
The approach has been to get a low cost high spec toy priced tool in the hands of every teen to get him into real programming and make sure there is a new generation of wiz kids in the future. The Indian tablet failed on almost all accounts.
It is amazing that a 300MHz CPU can do all this stuff. What an amazing amount of enabling it is capable of doing.. I was in awe when I heard it was only having a 300Meg CPU with about 256MB of RAM.. And what a price! The lower price point reassures people that electronics gets cheaper and cheaper as far as price is concerned but can do amaxing things with intelligent design.

And, just because BBC or CNN calls it dirty, it need not really have to be. Even if it is a 300M I still don't understand BBC's logic which can categorize it as _dirty _
Both ones would do. You seem to have first hand experience on using Akash so would be interesting to see your point by point review
Okay, even Pi looks really good.. Up on eBay for bid but already got outbid.. But yes this is turning out to be a real good initiative of making low cost tablets and computers.
It´s fast, can´t be damaged, comes with a large support program of teachers who will receive the first batch and its just asking to be tinkered with.
But of course it needs a monitor and a keyboard so it ends up being more expensive than the Indian tablet. The idea was that in the UK there will already be a computer monitor and a tv in every household. Daddy doesn´t allow young kids on the computer, but if they play with the raspberry and use the existing monitor they can´t ´damage´ the home pc.
So the good news is that they intend to step production and almost double the speed of the processor. The bad news is that the government is still not procuring them so they will end up at commercial customers.
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