New Delhi: An USD 35 computing-cum-access device, which will be made available to students from primary schools to universities, was launched yesterday.
The tablet, which is developed as part of National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), is designed in India. It is as a low cost but fully functioning device.
The touchscreen computer has a seven-inch screen, Wi-Fi Internet access, a media player and 180 minutes of battery power.
Named as ‘Akash’ (Sky), this locally-made device was launched in New Delhi by Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal after years of delays.
The commercial marketing strategy for ‘Akash’ remains unclear, but most of the computers are likely to be sold through universities and colleges rather than shops.
Canada-based Datawind, the current manufacturer, said the tablet used an Android 2.2 operating system, had video-conferencing capability, two USB ports and a 32GB expandable memory.
But experts warned its 256-megabyte random access memory (RAM) would limit performance.
Commercial manufacturers are hoping Indian customers will leapfrog personal computers to buy tablets, as millions did by buying mobile telephones instead of waiting for a landline.
Apple’s internationally-popular iPad computers cost a minimum of USD 600 in India, with competitor Reliance Communications selling a rival tablet device at about USD 290.
‘Akash’ aims to increase the student count accessing higher education and giving them the technological skills to boost the country’s rapid economic growth.