first_imgIn July last year India’s Human Resources Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, unveiled the world’s cheapest tablet expected to cost just $30, or $15 with a government subsidy. That’s an impressively low price for such a device, and one no other tablet gets close to matching.The original specs were pretty good too. A 10-inch touchscreen, 2GB of RAM, USB and Wi-Fi built in, plus a Linux OS shipping with OpenOffice, a PDF reader, web browser, video chat app, and media player.15 months later and the tablet has appeared, but it isn’t quite $30, and the spec is nowhere near that touted last year.The tablet is called Aakash and has been developed by UK company DataWind, but assembled in India. It costs $35 to purchase for the Indian government and runs Android 2.2 (Froyo). The display is now a 7-inch resistive unit (800 x 480), the RAM has been cut to just 256MB, and internal storage stands at 32GB. Connectivity is offered in the form of two USB 2.0 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Battery life is only 3 hours from the 2100mAh battery.Although it runs on Android there is no access to the Android Market. The main purpose of the device is for education and is compatible with .DOC, .DOCX, .PPTX, and .PDF formats. An iPad this is not, but if you can’t afford anything else then it’s something to work with and cheap enough for governments to buy in large quantities.A consumer version will also be available next month for $60 with the added bonus of a SIM card slot allowing for mobile Internet access.To begin with, 100,000 units have been ordered by the Indian government for students who will receive the tablet for free. If that goes well the Aakash will be bought in greater quantities, which in turn will bring the price down to the originally promised $30 mark or possibly even lower. Read more at India Timeslast_img read more