Aakash 4 tablet production to start in January

The Indian government is opening tenders for production of the fourth generation of its educational Aakash tablet.

The Aakash tablet will be most likely be manufactured by several players in India, slated for a production start date in January 2014, according to reports from The Times of India. Furthermore, the price of the new devices is expected to come down even further, by 1,000 to 1,500 Indian rupees within one year.

The fourth generation of the Aakash tablet will have a 7-inch touchscreen that will also be scratch resistant. It will support 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity, with 4GB of internal storage and an external memory card slot with storage capacity of up to 32GB. It will also have a front-mounted camera and Bluetooth facilities.

While the original concept and design was conceived by Datawind, it now appears that the Indian government has taken over the Aakash series and is pursuing further development on its own accord. Previous iterations faced delays and shortages, and as such, the Indian government wants to get the program back on track in order to provide the Aakash tablet to students across India.

For the price, the Aakash tablet is indeed a remarkable device. I have a first-generation device, and what I've realized is that for education, the Aakash tablet serves its purpose. It's educational in the sense of showing people how to go online and check email, which may be trivial for some, but still a challenge for others. From this perspective, the Aakash tablet can be utilized further as a teaching aid within the classroom.

From a learning perspective, it's simply more fun and interactive to follow along with a device, versus the traditional pen-and-paper approach. And the best way to expose children to technology at a young age is to introduce devices such as the Aakash tablet in the classroom at an early age.