India launches world’s “cheapest” tablet

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INDIA (BDCi) –India has launched what it says is the world’s cheapest touch-screen tablet computer, priced at just $35 (£23).

Costing a fraction of Apple’s iPad, the tablet Aakash is aimed at students.
It supports web browsing and video conferencing has a three-hour battery life and two USB ports, but questions remain over how it will perform.

Officials hope the computer will give digital access to students in small towns and villages across India, which lags behind its rivals in connectivity.

At the launch in the Indian capital, Delhi, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal handed out 500 Aakash (meaning sky) tablets to students who will trial them.

He said the government planned to buy 100,000 of the tablets. It hopes to distribute 10 million of the devices to students over the next few years.

“The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide,” Mr Sibal said.

The Aakash has been developed by UK-based company DataWind and Indian Institute of Technology (Rajasthan). It is due to be assembled in India, at DataWind’s new production centre in the southern city of Hyderabad.

“Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access,” DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said. “We’ve created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses.”

The company says it will also offer a commercial version of the tablet, called UbiSlate. It is expected to hit the shelves later this year, retailing for about $60.

By Janete Weinstein
Photo: CTV News
Source: Reuters
October 5, 2011
12:53 p.m. PDT

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