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India’s First Affordable Tablet Finally Makes its Debut

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
India's tablet

India’s very own lowcost tablet (perhaps a challenge to Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop) is the result of a technical collaboration between India’s leading scientific and technology institutes – IIT and IISc, Bangalore.

Priced at Rs.1,500 (US$35) this will be the world’s lowest-priced tablet, and it is expected to be available to every Indian student in schools and colleges.

Features

The tablet will support most common software features such as Open Office, SciLab for remote printing, Internet browsing with a Flash plug-in, JavaScript, video web conferencing, in-built PDF reader, and multimedia content in a variety of formats (pdf, docx, ods, adp, xls, jpeg, gif,png, bmp, odt, zip, AVCHD, AVI, AC3).

Developed on an open source platform, this tablet has the latest features, including a touch screen and a built-in keyboard. The operating system is called Bharath Operating System, or BOSS, and was developed by the National Resource Centre for Free and Open Source Software of India. It runs on top of Android 2.2.

Delayed Launch

Five years since the idea of low-cost tablets was first pitched, the Indian Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal finally launched it on October 5th, 2011. The model was made by Canadian/UK firm Datawind Ltd., and it comes with a seven-inch display screen. Carrying a Sanskrit name, the tablet is commercially available as Aakash (meaning sky). It has pre-loaded software such as an Internet browser, as well as multiple content viewing software.

The future devices will include telephony features with GSM bands. It is proposed that the Government of India, which has purchased 100,000 units at US$50 each, will sell it at subsidized rates of $35. The same will soon be available at retail costs of $60.

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