India’s $35 Tablet Returns! (For $45)

By  |  Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 9:06 am

The Indian government has succeeded where so many iPadversaries of 2010 failed: It actually delivered on its plans to launch a cheap tablet.

Sure, the Aakash tablet took longer than expected. And at a $45 unit price from U.K. manufacturer DataWind, it’s more expensive than the $35 prototype the Indian government showed off in July 2010. But according to the Times of India, it’s still the world’s cheapest tablet, and it’ll be commercially available for around $60 in November. (The $45 version is going to 100,000 students in India for free as part of a pilot program.)

The specs, of course, are cheap as they come. Behind the 7-inch, 800-by-480 resolution resistive touch screen, there’s a 366 MHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, 2 GB of flash storage and a 2100 mAh battery worth two or three hours of juice. Two USB ports and a microSD card slot line the edges. The software is straight-up Android 2.2.

I love how the Times of India doesn’t sugar-coat the mixed reaction from students who were at the Aakash tablet’s launch event. “It could be better,” Nikant Vohra, an electrical engineering student, said. “If you see it from the price only, it’s okay, but we have laptops and have used iPads, so we know the difference.”

But don’t let the lack of enthusiasm from students take away from India’s accomplishment. In the realm of gadgets-for-the-needy, that fact that a $45 tablet exists is a pretty big deal. One Laptop Per Child’s XO laptop never reached its $100 target price, and OLPC is still trying to release its own sub-$100 tablet by 2012.

If you’re interested in buying an Aakash tablet now, DataWind is taking pre-orders under its Ubisurfer brand, but the listed price is 99 pounds (about $150) plus shipping. You’re better off waiting for another high-profile tablet to flop.

 
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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Ryan Patterson Says:

    First of all this is still vaporware. Secondly it costs $150 not $35 (or even $45).

  2. Mae Loraine Jacobs Says:

    I don't know how the world can really benefit from this. At $150, that's still expensive for a crudely made (sorry to say that) tablet PC. But I do commend India for taking valiant efforts and for factoring education for the poor into the equation. I wouldn't be surprised if they will surpass the United States in product and software development.

  3. Amelia@IT Management Says:

    I got excited because of the $45 price tag but GBP150 is just too much. If somebody gives this to me for free, I'll accept it in a heartbeat but I'll never pay more than $50.

    This is a better alternative than buying a Kindle or any of those fancy ereaders but the price tag will be its poison. I know this is a tablet but with only a 366Mhz processor, I don't think it performs tasks all that well.