India Builds $35 Tablet Computers

India lags behind many other countries in computer technology. Only half of the colleges in that nation have access to the Internet. To broaden computer and especially Internet access, the Indian government is now selling a simple tablet computer called the Aakash at a subsidized rate of $35 each:

The 13-ounce touch-screen device can handle basic computing, including email, social networking, surfing, online banking, instant messaging and multimedia. The stripped-down system uses Google's Android 2.2 operating system and comes with headphones, Wi-Fi access, two USB slots, 256 megabytes of internal memory and a 7-inch screen. It is not considered on the same level of the more advanced tablets available to consumers.

"This will allow basic computing beyond the mobile phone," said Vishal Tripathi, an analyst with Gartner, a high-tech research firm.

Although the tablets were designed in the UK, they're being assembled in India in the hope of spurring domestic production of computer hardware.

Link -via Geekologie | Photo: Gurinder Osan/AP

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Great. Now if only they could focus their efforts on something important, like feeding children properly:

43% of children in India do not have enough food to eat.
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NPR interviewed someone who has tried it. He had several complaints. The major one was that it uses a pressure sensitive screen instead of a touchscreen. One must press very hard to click on something, and typing is nearly impossible. Another big concern is power. The $100 laptop that was issued a few years ago can be manually recharged. This new device needs access to electricity.
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If it helps people get online and can help educate kids in classrooms, more power to them. They need to do something like that here in the US.

Two USB slots? Wow, half of the $350+ Android tablets here in the US don't even have one USB slot.
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"India Builds $35 Tablet Computers"? Not exactly. If I'm reading it correctly, it's an $85 tablet, and the government is subsidizing $50 of it. There's no such thing as a free lunch!
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