$35 Aakash Android tablet gets the hands-on treatment

While everyone was in a tizzy about Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire price point, the Indian government was busily working to help bring out the $35 Aakash Android tablet. The tablet was developed with similarly good intentions as OLPC’s XO laptop before it — an attempt to get low-cost computing devices into the hands of students. One of the tablets landed in the VentureBeat offices this week. The site spent some hands-on time with the Froyo slate, and mostly liked what it saw, noting that seeming compromises made for price and a speedy release date ultimately benefit the whole of the device. The tablet will start hitting India next month, at the $35 government-subsidized price point (actual retail price is a still mega-cheap $60).

The Aakash is actually an Ubislate 7 from Datawind (makers of the Pocketsurfer). Beneath the 7-inch 800 x 480 resistive touchscreen is a 366MHz Connexant CPU, 256MB of RAM and 2GB of storage (expandable via microSD) running Froyo and the Getjar market on top. The battery life is rated for a rather short three hours, and much less if you want to play HD video. In addition to the 802.11 a/b/g WiFi chip, you also get a GPRS modem to stay connected in rural areas. We wish India’s HRD Minster Kapil Sibal’s pet project all the best and if you want to see the device held snugly inside a Rs 300 ($7) keyboard folio.

Photo by ndtv.com

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