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India unveils cheapest tablet computer

Posted on: November 11, 2011


  • Wednesday’s launch of the Aakash – which means “sky” in Hindi – is designed to boost e-learning to help India solve its education problems and bridge the digital divide that sees Asia’s third-largest economy lag behind its emerging market peers in internet access. The rich have access to the digital world; the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide,” said Kapil Sibal, the education minister, who came up with the idea for an ultra-low-cost tablet.
  • The Indian government put out a tender for the tablet to be developed, and plans to sell 100,000 units of the finished product to students in secondary schools for $35. Aakash has the same sized screen as the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire, which launched last week to great fanfare for $199, but which has less sophisticated features. Meanwhile, consumers will be able to buy a retail version for about $60.
  • The cut-price laptop will further sideline the non-profit One Laptop Per Child project, set up by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte, which has been aiming to bring $100 laptops to children in poor countries. The OLPC foundation failed to reach the $100 price tag, with machines selling for just over $200. They have seen orders from governments in Latin America and Africa, with around 2m machines distributed. However, they had not had a good response from the Indian authorities.

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