No gripes with sub-$40 Aakash Android tablet
If you think there are already some bargain Android tablets around you may still be surprised at just how low cost they can go with news that one is to launch in India costing less than $40 subsidized and still only around $60 without subsidy. In fact the subsidized price is only $22, which seems pretty remarkable.
The Aakash tablets are to be supplied by DataWind, based in the UK and according to Cnet, sourced from Bloomberg, it appears to be an updated version of a tablet introduced last year by Kapil Sibal, India’s telecommunications officer. The aim is to provide quality access technology to every child in India and the government there aim to purchase 10 million of the budget tablets over the next 5 years.
Quoted prices seem to differ as Bloomberg reports that 100,000 tablets will be initially purchased by the Indian government for around $49 (2,250 rupees) each and then sold to schools for around $22 (1,100 rupees) per unit. However the Wall Street Journal reports the subsidized price to students as around $35 (1,750 rupees). Whatever the pricing eventually turns out to be, this looks pretty amazing whichever way you look at it.
At retail the same tablet will sell for around $60, with a price of 2,999 rupees quoted on the Aakashslate Web site. Nobody is pretending that the specs of this budget slate are anywhere near those of Apple’s new iPad but when you consider that the price of the iPad 2 in India is 29,500 rupees you can see what a huge bargain the Aakash tablet really is.
For $60 the retail Aakash tablet offers a 366MHz processor (Conexant with graphics accelerator and HD video processor), a 7-inch resistive touch screen with resolution of 800×400, 256MB of RAM, 2GB of internal storage (expandable to 32GB), two USB ports, WiFi, GPRS modem (delivering around 2G speeds), battery for up to 3 hours use and all running on Android 2.2. Not exactly specs to write home about but nothing to sniff at for that price.
What are your thoughts on the Aakash tablet and particularly how cheaply students in India will be able to obtain the device? Let us know with your comments.