The battle for world’s cheapest tablet computer continues as India’s launches its first tablet Aakash for just $35.
India, where literacy level was 12% when Britain left the sub-continent has now increased to 78% in 2011. India is undoubtedly the world’s second biggest emerging economy after China and now it is focusing more on the higher education. In its 2020 goal, they want to achieve 30% enrollment in high schools as compare to current 7% enrollment. India’s knows that to compete with first world countries in knowledge and technology, they will have to adapt the same measure that was taken by the developed countries.
In its recent efforts, India has launched what it calls world’s cheapest tablet computer for students, teachers and rural folk. Aakash as its known is an addition to the latest series of cheap tablets. Datawind, a UK based company is the main manufacturer behind the low-cost tablet Aakash. The company will be selling the product for $45 to the government, and the government will be providing $10 subsidy to students and teachers, making its price $35. Initially, it was expected that India’s first tablet computer Aakash would cost $10. It’s still cheaper than the likes of iPad and Kindle Fire which cost $499 and $199 respectively. The company has the capacity of making 100,000 units in a month but the figures are not enough to meet the demand of Indian government which is planning to get almost 220 million children online through Aakash.
The $35 Android-based tablet has a 7-inch color screen with an 800 by 480 resistive touchscreen. It has a 366 MHz Connexant processor with 256M of RAM and 2 USB ports. It comes with 2GB of storage but it can be expanded through microSD card. For internet connectivity it has the standard 802.11 Wi-Fi but you can install a GPRS modem for connectivity in rural areas of India. Its battery timings are rated short and will last only for 3 hours unless you are not playing HD video on it. You can also get attachable keyboard with folio for $7.
Making the announcement to the children of the world, India’s Human Resources Development Minister said, “This is not just for us. This is for all of you who are disempowered. This is for all those who live on the fringes of society.”
Though, Aakash has been well received by the low-income group but students who have used tablets or other such devices have a different opinion to. They believe that the tablets need to be polished and refined more before its makes its mark in the tablet market. Nikan Vohra, an engineering student said. “If you see it from the price only, it’s okay, but we have laptops and we have used iPads, so we know the difference”.