It looks like the vapor surrounding India’s $35 tablet has congealed directly into a solid. The Aakash tablet is being made by Canadian manufacturer Datawind, and the Indian government is ordering 100,000 of them at at 2,200 rupees per unit ($44.50), though Datawind says that a planned larger order will drop the effective price per unit down closer to $35.
In two months, a SIM-slot-equipped version of the device, branded “Ubislate”, will be available to consumers for 2,999 rupees ($60.70). The tablet will have a 366MHz processor, 7” resistive touchscreen, 256Mb RAM, a 32Gb SD card slot, and two USB ports, running Android 2.2 (Froyo). With those specs, it’s basically an oversized low-end smartphone without the phone.
Interestingly enough, the Ubislate looks like it will be available in the west for £99 ($152.89)+£6 shipping. That’s a bit more than I’d pay for something with such low specs, especially since for $50 more I could get a Fire. Though I wonder if that’s just the price in the UK, and the price if it comes to the US could be a more sensible $99? At that price, it might sell a lot.
Regardless, the inexpensive tablet certainly could be transformative for India, where only 8% of citizens have Internet access. I do have to say that it’s a little weird to have a Western manufacturer making cheap hardware for use in Asia, rather than the other way around.
Engadget also has a story on the tablet.