When the Android-based Aakash tablet was announced in 2011 it created a media buzz for its unheard of $50 price and promises that the Indian government would distribute millions to schools throughout the country.
After many delays and several iterations designed to fix poor quality hardware, the Aakash was finally released in India where more than 100,000 of the tablets are believed to be in use.
Now, the Indo-Asian News Service reports the Aakash has just completed a pilot project in North Carolina, with 100 units deployed in summer camps for poorer schoolchildren (mostly under age 10) to help them prepare for next year's studies. There are other projects under way as well, with 2,000 tablets – DataWind's Aakash-equivalent UbiSlate models – already deployed.
The man behind the North Carolina pilot is software entrepreneur Chris Evans who agreed to fund 100 tablets for the American non-profit Communities in Schools (CIS), which was running the summer camps in North Carolina. Evans is on the board of CIS.
"(The richer kids) were already using smartphones and tablets at school," Evans told the News Service, "and I thought the Aakash would be an affordable way to keep them in pace with their classmates and engaged with their studies."