updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed October 5, 2011
Aakash tablet gets formal release
After delays, the Indian government on Wednesday showed off the final version of its very low-cost Android 2.2 tablet. Now called the Aakash ("sky"), the $35, seven-inch tablet is created by PocketSurfer inventor DataWind and will be made within India. It keeps costs down by using an older 366MHz Connexant chip, 2GB of internal storage, and 256MB of RAM.
The slate will still find room for a microSDHC card slot and a pair of USB ports for expansion.
An initial run of 100,000 tablets is deploying to schools over the next few months. Millions of students should have access to the Aakash, ministor of communications Kapil Sibal said. A more home-focused version will cost the equivalent of $61 with extra features, though the details weren't outlined.
The tablet has been development for over a year and was intended to bring computing to schools across India. Only eight percent of Indians have Internet access, most of those located in the largest urban areas, and many still often consider even a low-end desktop PC too expensive. Tablets are more limited relative to computers but, for a population that has rarely ever used a computer, still has the potential to raise the standards for education and communication.
Apple currently dominates tablets in India, with 60 percent of the market to itself. Samsung as elsewhere is a distant second, with Galaxy Tabs reaching 25 percent. The market in the country is still likely much smaller than it is in North American or Europe as the higher prices rule it out for all but the more affluent people in the country.