Originally published: November 2, 2011
Last updated: December 20, 2011 - 5:47pm
India has unveiled what its government says is the world's cheapest tablet computer, along with a promise to make the device available to the country's college students, and possibly, to those in high school as well.
The government says it's a major step toward bridging the country's gigantic digital divide. The tablet is called "Aakash," the Hindi word for "sky," and boosters say it could give Internet access to billions of people. The Aakash was developed for the government by Datawind, a London-based company founded by two brothers from India's Punjab state. Datawind is selling the Aakash to the government for about $50 apiece. In turn, the government is looking to subsidize enough of the cost to make it available to students at about $35, not much more than the cost of a fairly basic mobile phone.
But cost is still at the heart of most complaints about the Aakash, from people who say the government is buying expensive gadgetry when it should be addressing the real problem: that India's education system is a mess.
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