For a long time, the $35 tablet - Sakshat - looked like a myth. However, after multiple delays and grumbles from several quarters (some mocking in the international blogs too), Minister of Communications and IT, Kapil Sibal, under whose aegis the project has been nurtured, finally launched the cheapest tablet, Aakash, commercially at the price of Rs 2,500. It is currently available for pre-order on their website.
Aakash has been designed, developed, and manufactured by DataWind, a British company, in collaboration with IIT Rajasthan under the HRD Ministry's National Mission on Education through Information & Communication Technology (NME-ICT). The HRD Ministry is buying 100,000 tablets from DataWind for Rs 2250 per unit inclusive of taxes and freight charges.
The Android 2.2 based device features a 7-inch resistive touchscreen and only one face button. There are no volume or back buttons. The device has support for two USB ports and a micro SD card slot along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and the DC in port. Under the hood, Aakash runs on a 366MHz Connexant processor and 256MB RAM with a dedicated HD video processor and 2GB on board flash storage. The device runs full HD videos at 1080p smoothly. The battery life of the device is a bit of a let-down and at 2100mAh; it would last for a maximum 3 hours.The overall build quality is good and there is a rubberized finish to it.
Aakash comes bundled with DataWind'sUbi Surfer browser and Nimbuzz app for social networking and instant messaging. For installing other Android apps, the tablet is Get Jar enabled but does not support the Android Marketplace. Also, the National Programme of Technology Enabled Learning (NPTEL) has already put up an ecosystem of web-enabled course content and all the video lectures, animations, simulations, notes, and tests are available to students free of cost at