Indian government has released a new tablet computer, Aakash, dubbed “the world’s cheapest.Aakash costs is $35 with government subsidies for students or $60 in stores. The government is giving away 100,000 for free during its launch period. The first 500 tablets released received a mixed response, as some complained that they are slow.
Indian government hopes the device will bridge the gap between the rich and poor. “The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide,” says Kapil Sibal, the communications and education minister.
If you’re wondering what a tablet that costs as much as a pair of sneakers can possibly do, here’s a bit more about its specs: Aakash runs Android 2.2 Froyo, has a 7-inch touchscreen, weighs 350 grams, and has 32 GB of internal memory, 256 MB of RAM and two USB ports. The 2100mAh battery should last for two to three hours. Although it comes pre-loaded with some apps, it does not access the Android Marketplace. It has been tested in 118 degree Fahrenheit conditions to replicate northern India’s summer.
The tablet is being produced in India and should be available in stores next month. The government plans to start selling them at the subsidized price to students next year.