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India unveils $35 tablet computer

October 7, 2011 |  5:55 pm

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Combat poverty with a tablet computer? That's what India is thinking.

The nation of 1.2 billion people announced plans to sell government-subsidized tablets priced at $35 to thousands of needy villagers in the countryside. Named Aakash, or "sky" in Hindi, the tablet has been touted as the cheapest of its kind in the world.

The device followed years of efforts by developer Datawind and the Indian government to design and build a $10 computer that could help millions get online, many for the first time. That ambitious goal wasn't quite met -- the government is actually paying $45 for each tablet from Datawind, and subsidizing it for distribution to students and teachers in the coming months.

But $45 is still a mere fraction of the cost of other blockbuster tablets: the basic iPad tablet costs $499, and the upcoming Amazon Kindle Fire is priced at $199.

The Android-powered device will have a color touchscreen and be capable of handling more basic computing tasks such as word processing, Web browsing and video conferencing.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: A student uses the 'Aakash' tablet computer to perform a Google search during a news conference in New Delhi. Credit: Pankaj Nangia / Bloomberg.

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