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India’s $25 Tablet PC

Posted 10/07/2011 7:00 am by

Indian students show off laptops that cost less than a good pizza.

When it comes to technology, there are two problems.  The first one is building the infrastructure to use it:  in the case of India, only half of the country’s 25,000 colleges are connected to the Internet, but they’re working on that.  The other problem is adoption:  if people have no money, how can they possibly use the Internet?  Computers are expensive!  Well, the Indian government is working on that, too.  The Indian government has designed and produced a $25 touchscreen tablet computer dubbed the Aakash, which is Hindi for wind.  Not only is it finally here, it’s cheaper than expected!

“Today we reach to the sky and demonstrate what is possible,” said Kapil Sibal, who serves as India’s information technology and human resource development minister.  “Let me send a message, not just to our children but the children of the world:  This is for all those who are marginalized.”

That’s the goal for Datawind, the English company who designed and built the touchscreen PC, which costs the Indian government about $50 to produce.  Says Datawind’s CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli:  “My target audience is the 1 billion Indians who don’t use the Internet.  People say ‘Computers for rickshaw wallahs, you must be crazy.’  You watch!”

The Aakash is powered by Google’s Android 2.2 and features headphones, Wi-Fi access, two USB slots, 256 megabytes of internal memory, and a 7-inch screen.  While the specs don’t compare to the Amazon Kindle Fire, it’s almost as cheap as the HP TouchPad, so I doubt anyone in India is complaining.

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