World’s cheapest tablet launches in India

CORRECTION: We yesterday referred to the Kindle Fire as ‘low cost’, thanks to its $199 price tag. We now realize it’s actually bloody expensive.

Yup, the Indian government is today to start dishing out only slightly-subsidized tablets for $35 apiece.

The Aakash tablet – the name means ‘sky’ – has been in development for over four years. In its final incarnation, it boasts a 366 MHz + HD video co-processor with 256MB of RAM and up to 32GB of Flash memory, along with a seven-inch resistive screen with 800 x 480 resolution. It runs on runs on Android 2.2 Froyo. 

It’s made by a joint venture between British company DataWind and IIT Rajasthan.

The government’s paid $50 each for the devices, and will sell them to students – just 100,000 to start with – for around $35. They’ll also be available to the general public for about $70. DataWind says it expects to be able to get the retail price, too, down to $35 at higher volume levels.

Tha aim is to drag India into the internet age. Currently, according to the International Telecommunication Union, there are around 88 million internet users in India – a lot, but still only 7.5 percent of the population.

However, only the retail version of the Aakash has an in-built modem and SIM card. Students will presumably have to search around for Wifi access – a good excuse to visit a chai shop, perhaps…