India has long been the home of dirt-cheap tech for the masses, and now you can add an Android tablet to the mix. The Aakash (Hindi for “sky”) tablet is being sold for the equivalent of $45 to the general public, with subsidized $35 versions selling to students and teachers. In local currency it’s about 1,700 Rupees. The basic tablet is being made by budget manufacturer DataWind.
There’s not a lot of info available on the tablet hardware, but we do know that the 7-inch device is running on 2.2 Froyo, like most Android smartphones at the moment. Since video conferencing is mentioned by the Human Resource Development Minister, we can conclude that there’s at least some kind of webcam included. The low-cost devices are intended to “lift villagers out of poverty” by teaching them basic computer skills, including word processing and web browsing.
The Indian government intends to get the Aakash tablet into the hands of no less than 10 million students across the country. If they succeed, that would make India the #1 user of Android tablets, even if they won’t be showing up on Google’s activation press releases any time soon. And before you ask, modders, no, it isn’t being sold outside of India.