BANGALORE, India—The Indian government Wednesday (Oct. 5) launched a tablet computer for students priced at a subsidized rate of $35 and made by a hitherto unknown manufacturer, Datawind Ltd., a developer of wireless Web access products based in the U.K. The same gadget will be sold to the general public at a retail price of $60.
The version for students will not have an embedded cellular modem or SIM card, but both versions will run on Google’s Android platform.
Called "Aakash" (or sky), the gadget will have Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud-based storage, 256 MB of RAM, a 32-GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.
Both versions of the tablet will run on the Android 2.2 (Froyo) platform. Both will feature a 7-inch resistive touch screen with 800x480 resolution, weigh about 350 grams and include Wi-Fi connectivity for internet access and cloud storage.
The tablet supports formats such as DOC, DOCX, PDF and PPTX and has a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack. Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind, told a television channel that the product will be made in India and has gone through extensive product testing. "This is a made-in-India product, with the screen coming from a South Korean company and the chip from a U.S. company. It has 800 components and the screen cost the most, under $10. This (product) will revolutionize the world," Tuli was quoted as saying.
The tablet has a 2,100mAh battery which can reportedly last for two to three hours depending on the type of usage.
More details of the product were not available. Kapil Sibal, federal minister for education and information technology, said Aakash will be available throughout India. But many in India were sceptical of Sibal's announcement, given that even primary school education has for decades been considered insufficient in both quantity and quality in India.
The $100 laptop was being developed by scientific and educational agencies that were run by the government. India's government said it will have the $35 tablet computer further improved by government-owned research institutions, if necessary.
According to news reports from New Delhi, where the product was launched, Datawind claimed it will make a profit at a retail price. The company said the version for students will be subsidized by the government.
One company that dropped out of the race for developing the $35 tablet said it did so because it did not see how it could make the product available—despite the subsidy borne by the government—at a decent profit.
Sounds this is a real thing and obviously for $35 you can't expect much technology...but it will be much more powerful then 286 based PC I used with excitement long time ago...if this works out in India you would be able to sell millions of these (maybe billions?) in Africa etc where price point seems right...If anyone in India sees this model in real life pls let us know, Kris
I can't expect much from a $35 tablet. Just can't wait to have a look and feel. But from the information provided so far, the first thing I did not like is that the screen is resistive. Hope to see Akash II with a capacitive touch screen. The processor is a low speed one. But with a $35 price tag it shall reach to many in India.
It is still unclear if one is able to buy Akash tablet from any shop or mobile store. It is quite likely that initially it will be contributed via colleges and universities to the students by putting an application to the management. One may book Akash tablet PC in India from a lot of websites. It will soon be available on eBay also. http://www.aakashtablet.com/
Interesting. Although my nephew, a grad school student, freely admits he cannot. Much as he loves his iPad.
As for me, I can never get enough display real-estate when writing or doing work-related research, so the hype about tablets seems like oversimplistic exaggeration. I always feel like stopping the hypester, sitting him down, and saying, okay, now explain how you would use the tablet in these cases. And never mind that trendy new term, "post-PC era."
“they are only really useful for consumers of information, not creators”
While I would agree with that statement, my nieces, nephews and many of their friends use iPads to write college papers. It seems that the younger generation is willing to live with the inconvenience of the input method to gain the convenience of mobility.
Performance will be low, so will reliability as others pointed out...but that is not the main problem...wireless connectivity will be, will these poor kids in India supposed to go to local Starbucks shops to chill over latte while surfing the net? Kris
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