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World’s cheapest tablet computer launches in India

A tablet computer that makes the fire-sale-priced TouchPad look expensive has just been launched in India.

According to a BBC report, the new tablet, which was developed by UK-based company DataWind together with the Indian Institute of Technology in Rajasthan, is priced at only $35 (£23) – that’s $464 cheaper than Apple’s cheapest iPad tablet.

The tablet – called the Aakash, which means ‘sky’ – was launched by the Indian government’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at a special event in Delhi on Wednesday.

In the long-term, the government hopes to distribute millions of the devices among students across the country.

Kapil Sibal said of the device: “The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide.”

The idea is that the super-cheap tablet will enable students in small towns and villages to get connected to the web. Such places often don’t have libraries or any way of accessing the latest information, so the tablet would be more than welcome in areas like these.

“We’ve created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and Internet access to the masses,” DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said.

According to the BBC report, the company will bring out a commercial version of of the device at the end of this year. The UbiSlate is expected to be priced at around $60.

The Aakash looks to be around the same size as Amazon’s new Fire tablet, has a resistive LCD display, runs on the Android operating system, supports web browsing and video conferencing, has a battery life of three hours, a 660 mhz processor and two USB ports.

After having a go on the Aakash, Rajat Agrawal, executive editor of gadget reviewers BGR India, told Reuters that the device seemed slow and the touch-screen not very agile. But at that rock bottom price, it’s hardly surprising.

Agrawal added: “Because of the price there is a lot of excitement. People might use it initially but if it is not user friendly they will give up within a week.”

[Image courtesy of cofkocof  /  Shutterstock]

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Trevor Mogg
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