Usability Evaluation of the Tablet Computer ‘Aakash-2'

Usability Evaluation of the Tablet Computer ‘Aakash-2'

Ganesh Bhutkar (Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, India), Manasi Patwardhan (Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, India) and Dhiraj Jadhav (Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, India)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch110
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Background

Though there is a huge attractive market for tablet computers with variety of user-friendly features, the main hitch is their affordability, especially in the Indian market. A cost of a high-end tablet computer is more than INR 40,000 (USD 640) for higher versions of Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface or Samsung Galaxy Note (Thinkdigit.com). The top-selling vendors of tablet computers in India include Samsung, Micromax, Datawind, a maker of ‘Aakash’ and Apple (Tripathy et al., 2013). The average sales value of tablet computers is about INR 13,000 (USD 210), while two-third of the sales is below INR 10,000 (USD 160). Considering this challenge of affordability, Government of India has promoted World’s cheapest tablet computer – ‘Aakash’ and its versions.

‘Aakash’ is an Android-based low-cost tablet computer, which is launched as a part of an initiative to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in an e-learning program (BBC, 2010). It is produced by British company DataWind and is manufactured by the India-based company Quad. It was officially launched in New Delhi, India on 5th Oct., 2011. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) released an upgraded second-generation model called ‘Aakash 2’, code-named as ‘UbiSlate 7Ci’ in Nov., 2012. The current commercial price of ‘Aakash 2’ is about INR 3,499 (USD 56). However, it is offered at much lower subsidized price of INR 1,130 (USD 18) for Indian students and teachers.

Figure 1 depicts the tablet interface for ‘Aakash 2’, highlighting physical buttons for volume control and power / locking. Being a low-cost tablet computer, the features of ‘Aakash 2’ have certain limitations; still they are interesting as given below:

Figure 1.

Tablet interface for ‘Aakash 2’

  • 180 millimetres (7 inch) capacitive touch-screen with resolution of 800 x 480 pixels,

  • Light weight of 350 grams (12 oz),

  • ARM Cortex A8 processor with frequency of 1 GHz,

  • 512 MB RAM with 4 GB internal flash memory,

  • Operating system - Android 4.0.4,

  • Wi-Fi and GPS capacity,

  • One Universal Serial Bus (USB) port.

Though the customers of ‘Aakash 2’ are happy about the affordable price, they are not satisfied with its performance (Aakash.org, 2013). Therefore, there is a need for further investigation of this tablet computer from the viewpoint of college students and teachers as target audience.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cognitive Walkthrough: An expert-based UEM that focuses on evaluating a design for ease of learning, particularly by exploration.

Heuristic Evaluation: An expert-based UEM to evaluate the system based on ten heuristics developed by Nielsen and Molich.

Tablet Computer: A mobile computer with display, circuitry and battery in a single unit and equipped with sensors, including cameras, microphone, accelerometer and touch-screen, with finger or stylus gestures.

Usability Evaluation Method: ( UEM): A method which evaluates the interaction design for the purpose of identifying aspects of such interaction that can be improved to increase usability at a particular stage of its development.

Think aloud protocol: A user-based UEM, in which, users are asked to verbalize their thoughts, feelings, and opinions while interacting with the system.

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