Following the suit of HP and the $99 TouchPad sale, India plans to introduce a $35 tablet computer dubbed the Aakash for students. This will be the least expensive tablet in the world.
India's Ministry of Education revealed their plans for a cheap tablet computer on Wednesday during a conference in New Delhi. The tablet would be meant for underprivileged students who would not be able to afford it otherwise, as Apple iPads typically cost $499. Many Web sites, including CNN and USA Today, conclude it will be priced at $35 while Businessweek says it could be priced at $22, or Rs. 1,100.
Today, we see the beginning of a dream realized; a dream in which every student in every corner of this country will have access to technology that defines the 21st century, Minister of Human Resources and Development Kapil Sibal said during the conference.
Aakash, which means sky in Hindi, will use Android OS and will be 7 inches long. However, it will only gain access to the Internet through Wi-Fi and will only have 2 GB of memory without an SD card, which can boost it to 32GB, CNN reported.
The idea to introduce an affordable tablet to students came from the National Mission on Education through Information and Technology (NME-ICT). The Education Ministry plans to send the Aakash devices to colleges throughout India's states and territories, where still hundreds of thousands of citizens have no electricity, never mind Internet access for students.
[It's] for the benefit of students who do not have access to libraries. a government official said.
Calling it a mobile Internet device, it is an endeavor backed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Rajasthan, and manufacturing company Data Wind. Data Wind will assemble the Aakash tablet in India, though it will obtain nearly half of its parts from South Korea, China and the U.S.
According to Businessweek, the Indian government will buy 100,000 of the manufactured tablets at Rs.2,250 and will become available for students in the near future. Sibal said it has plans to purchase 10 million Aakash tablets over the next five years.