Aakash, the $35 tablet computer released in October for Indian schoolchildren has a successor, dubbed the UbiSlate 7+, a slightly more expensive tablet for impoverished students in Latin America, Egypt, Thailand and Brazil. Due to huge demand for inexpensive Internet access in third world countries, DataWind, the company that made the Aakash, has been overwhelmed with interest in the device. The Aakash was built cheaply with Indian government subsidies, and now DataWind is looking to take the new device to other countries with similarly high rates of poverty.
UbiSlate 7+, as the name implies, is a seven-inch Android-powered tablet with an 800x480p resolution resistive touchscreen, two gigabytes of storage capacity, 256 MB of memory, Cortex A8 700 Mhz processor, microSD card reader for expandable storage and a USB port for a mouse or keyboard. It has a bigger battery than the original Aakash, and has access to 150,000 apps from GetJar. There's even an add-on plug-in 3G radio available in India. That means the UbiSlate 7+ is also a mobile phone! The UbiSlate Web site is taking orders for April, and it indicates orders are sold out for February and March with a message from DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli saying how the company can't keep up with demand.
In a world where U.S. consumers are comparing $200 to $300 smartphones, the UbiSlate 7+ hardly registers a blip, but its educational purpose is another story. In fact, the educational message is one that has other companies like One Laptop Per Child heading down the same road. Their X0-1.5 laptop is a bit of a different concept than the UbiSlate 7+, but it has the backing of the MIT Media Lab and other high profile companies (Google, News Corp.) to help market and subsidize it. OLPC has a tablet concept as well, but it's just an artists rendering at this point with no actual timetables or solid plans to be built. Tell us in the comments if you think more schoolchildren should have access to inexpensive tablets.