UK firm DataWind has launched a tablet in India called the Aakash that will retail for just £29 inclusive of all charges.
The world's cheapest tablet was developed in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology, and is aimed primarily at students. It will be assembled in DataWind's Hyderabad's factories.
The tablet has a three-hour battery life, 256MB of RAM, a 2GB SD memory card, a 32GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports, and runs the Android 2.2 operating system.
Kapil Sibai, India's human resource development minister, handed out 500 of the tablets for students to test, and said that the government plans to distribute 10 million units to students over the next few years.
The Indian government will buy 100,000 Aakash tablets from DataWind at the current price, and the rest of the tablets will probably be bought at the target price of £23. DataWind has "provided a firm proposal" that it can manufacture the Aakash tablets at this lower price, according to Sibai.
"Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access. We've created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses," he said.
"This is not only a concept that applies to India, but has ignited the imaginations of governments around the world. The Aakash is proudly made in India, and is destined to revolutionise computing and internet access for the world."
DataWind said that it will also offer a commercial version of the tablet, called UbiSlate, which will go on sale in India in November at a slightly higher price of £39.50.
The price difference between the Aakash and UbiSlate is down to the fact that the commercially available product will include a cellular modem, allowing it to deliver web access anywhere there is a cellular connectivity, and "also to function as a mobile phone", DataWind said in a statement.
The launch of such a low cost tablet is significant, especially considering that Intel and the non-profit organisations One Laptop Per Child and NComputing heavily invested in creating a cheap device for the developing world, but never managed to establish tablets or laptops in the price range of the Aakash tablet.
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