Costing a fraction of Apple’s iPad, the subsidised Aakash is aimed at students.
It supports web browsing and video conferencing, has a three-hour battery life and two USB ports, but there is little other information about its performance.
Officials hope the computer will give digital access to students in small towns and villages across India, which suffer from the digital divide.
At the launch in the Indian capital, Delhi, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal handed out 500 Aakash (meaning ‘sky’ in Hindi) tablets to students who will trial them.
He said the government planned to buy 100,000 of the tablets. It hopes to distribute 10 million of the devices to students over the next few years.
“The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide,” Mr Sibal said.
The Aakash has been developed by UK-based company DataWind and Indian Institute of Technology in Rajasthan.
It is due to be assembled in India, at DataWind’s new production centre in the southern city of Hyderabad.
“Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access,” DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said.
“We’ve created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses.”
The company says it will also offer a commercial version of the tablet, called UbiSlate. It is expected to hit the shelves later this year, retailing for about $60. Yep that is hitting the luxury end of the tablet market.
Mr Sibal says the device will enhance learning in India. Newswarped suggests it might also lead to millions more people playing mindless games instead of studying and working. There goes their productive edge. Pretty soon they will be just another lazy first world country.
There have been a few party poopers who have pointed out that the same Ministry trumpeted a $10 laptop called Sakshat in 2009 only to produce……..nothing.