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By 7 October 2011 | Categories: news

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Tablets have moved even closer to becoming mainstream, affordable devices for the masses, with the unveiling of the world’s cheapest tablet. At just $35 (R277) the Android 2.2 based device, named the Aakash, has been launched in India, and will be subsidised at that price for students by the Indian government.

"The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide," India’s Telecoms and Education minister Kapil Sibal is quoted as commenting.

The tablet features a 366 MHz processor from Connexant, according to PCWorld, along with a 7” touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 480, 256 MB of memory and 2 GB of storage. The device also includes Wi-Fi, and offers three hours of battery life.

The Aakash is manufactured by a Montreal-based wireless web access products manufacturer, DataWind. According to the International Business Times, the chief executive officer of Datawind, Suneet Singh Tuli explained that its goal was to break the price barrier for computing and Internet access. "We've created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and Internet access to the masses," he added.

More exciting from a local perspective is that DataWind is apparently planning to market its tablet in several emerging markets. We only hope that Africa is amongst them.

The company also intends to make a premium version of the device available through retail outlets at a still very affordable $60 (R476), with additional GPRS functionality.

Perhaps the most promising aspect of the announcement is that tablets – and the benefits they offer – are clearly on their way towards becoming increasingly accessible and not just limited to premium offerings – and those who can afford them.

Photo: Reuters

In related news, the IDC  expect 62.5 million tablets to ship worldwide this year

 

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