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World's cheapest tablet launches in India

India's previously planned Aakash, renamed the UbiSlate, begins initial field tests for graduate students.


Unveiled last year, the so-called Aakash tablet is finally rolling off production lines in India and is officially available. Known as the UbiSlate, the tablet is being manufactured by DataWind Ltd. and was developed in a partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan.

Specwise, the UbiSlate has a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, and runs Android 2.2. It has 366 MHz CPU, 256 MB of RAM, and 2GB of memory, which is expandable up to 32GB via microSD. It also has two USB 2.0 ports and WiFi standard, plus optional 3G.

The real story here, of course, has almost nothing to do with specs -- there are plenty of lower powered Android tablets in the world. But hardware manufacturing at a low is a complicated business to get into, so the fact that India, which does not have a long history of manufacturing electronics, is getting into the game is news itself. The fact that the tablet (which is aimed at India's giant student population) costs around $50 ($35 was the initial goal but it's ended up a bit more than that) is even bigger news. The goal is eventually to get the price of the UbiSlate down to $10.

While the tablet will only be available to graduate students for the time being (the Indian government already having ordered 100,000 of them for that purpose), a commercial version is already planned. The devices are currently being field-tested by 500 students for the next 45 days, when the tablets will begin to be more widely dispersed.