“The sun will rise for the children of our country,” said an Indian official as he discussed the Aakash, a Tablet computer “developed” in India, selling for just US $35. And one could argue that $35 could buy an extended supply of food for one of India’s needy millions, but the Aakash price is less than what most mobile phones might cost. In terms of features, the Aakash has a seven-inch touch screen, a 32GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, a USB port and Wi-Fi connectivity. There’s also a VGA port for connecting to a projector. It supports Open Office and SciLab, an open source programming language. The Android Tablet also has an inbuilt keyboard and PDF reader. Additionally, it is built to perform in areas with low power supply, using just 2 Watts.
Whatever anyone might think about the specs of the Aakash, it is interesting that India has a National Mission for Education which is one of the forces behind making a Tablet device accessible to India’s students. It is an effort to “edify the large population to widen the horizon of knowledge among all in every aspect of life.” And the government is expected to subsidize the cost to make it more accessible. Reviewers at CNN and the BBC along with other commentators were unimpressed with the “cheap” device and some believed the Indian government should not have intervened. Still, in the developing world where people literally struggle to survive, and the iPad is but a distant dream, it’s nice to know there’s a Tablet device for almost everyone.
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