DataWind Ubislate / Aakash Tablet

For the past year Indian officials have been promising to launch a $35 Android tablet aimed at students. Today it’s finally available — and while the tablet is a little more expensive than promised, it’s still dirt cheap for a mobile computing device.

Production of the tablet was outsourced to British company DataWind, makers of the UbiSurfer line of mobile devices. But it’s being manufactured in India.

The tablet will come in two versions. The DataWind Ubislate be available at retail stores for 2999 Rs, or about $60, and it will feature a cellular modem and SIM card slot. Meanwhile the Indian government acquired about 100,000 units of a cheaper version which will be called the Aakash Tablet for 2250 Rs or about $45. Those tablets will be distributed to students for free as part of a pilot program. That version will be WiFi-only.

The tablet  is a pretty barebones device, with a 7 inch, 800 x 480 pixel resistive touchscreen display, 256MB of RAM and 2GB of flash storage. It runs Google Android 2.2 Froyo and has a 366 MHz processor plus an HD video co-processor. The tablet also has a microSD card slot for expansion and 2 USB ports.

The tablet also has a headphone jack and a battery that’s good for about 2 to 3 hours of run time. The device does not include the official Google Android Market, but users should be able to install apps using third party app stores.

DataWind and Indian official still hope to bring down the production costs so that the tablet can eventually be sold for $35 or even less.

Honestly, the Aakash Tablet looks a lot like many other budget Android tablets we’ve seen from Chinese companies over the last year or two. The slow processor, low resolution display, resistive touch panel and other compromises made to keep costs down mean that this tablet is not in the same class as higher-priced products from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, or Samsung.

But it’s rightfully being called the cheapest Android tablet in the world and that could go a long way toward improving internet access for many Indians who may not be able to afford more expensive devices.

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5 replies on “Aakash Android tablet hits India for $60 or less”

  1. Hi,
    Recently i have been hearing a lot about this Xtab A10 which is the cheapest 5 point capacitive, 1.5 GHz, HDMI, USB, Android 4.0 tablet @ Rs 5490 launched by NXG Electronics. Can you please suggest me whether or not i should book this tablet for me as i am really new to this tablet world.

  2. it is really going to change the world indian living… first reliance change the mobile industry by lauching Rs.500 phone… now Indian government doing the same… Jai Hind…

  3. Yikes.  As one who is no stranger to the corruption of the Indian government, I’m not at all surprised by some of the idiotic choices made in the design of this device.  As one who has a lot of experience and connections in the world of embedded computing, I (in fact, anybody who knows what they’re doing) could create a much better device for under $30.  People have their own opinions on both Android (which is an awful operating system compare to what’s available) and resistive touch screens (which are the vastly superior passive digitizer), but they just don’t go well together.  Android is designed for sloppy, incidental, sliding and swiping all over the place “interactions” (or rather, “gestures”), which resistive doesn’t do with the same mindless ease that capacitive does.  However, if you’ve ever lived in India then you know that resistive is the only passive touchscreen technology that makes sense for a device like this.  A smarter choice of operating system and a smarter choice of SoC would have made this a much more viable device for the people who the press releases identify as the beneficiaries (the students).  In reality, lots of companies are going to get paid for supplying to the projects, ad the products are going to be worthless in less than a year.  What a shame.

    1. Yup, completely agree with you aftermath.  A real shame but not really surprising.

    2. whats far better? Bada? Nokia’s OS? a distributed Linux OS? Truth is IOS would not run on his tablet because of licensing, and Windows is out of the question at this price break. Other OS’s dont have enough developer backing to allow a rich phone experience. Apparently Android is good enough to run on HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, Toshiba , etc …. but not god enough for a tablet that less than $60, give me a break troll.

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