$35 tablet computer, dubbed the Aakash, unveiled in India

$35 tablet computer hits shelves in India. The catch: To get your hands on the Aakash, you've got to be a student. Still, how long before we have a $35 tablet computer arrives here in the states?

A $35 tablet computer called the Aakash will launch later this year. Here, Indian students use the $35 tablet computer at an October event in New Delhi.

A $35 tablet computer?

Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled the $199 Kindle Fire tablet, which undercuts even the cheapest Apple iPad by a cool three-hundred bucks. Today, the government of India unveiled $35 tablet computer, the Aakash, which undercuts the Kindle Fire by $165, and the cheapest Apple iPad by $365.

Take that, Apple!

At a press event in New Delhi, Kapil Sibal, India’s minister for human resources development, dished out 500 Aakash tablets to a group of students, and invited them to test out the device. Considering the price tag, the Aakash is a pretty full-featured machine: According to the New York Times, it ships with a 7-inch touch screen, Android 2.2 OS, a pair of USB ports, and 256 megabytes of RAM.

The Indian government will make a pilot run of 100,000 Aakash tablets available to students, Reuters reports.

Speaking to the BBC, Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of Data Wind, which manufactures the tablet, said he hoped the Aakash would provide an alternative to luxury devices such as the iPad.

"Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access," Tuli said. "We've created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses." (Data Wind will also make a $60 commercial tablet called the UbiSlate.)

Of course, as the Atlantic's Adam Clark-Estes notes, "the Aakash is just the latest attempt to speed the process of development through internet access. The One Laptop Per Child program has been turning donations from the first-world into computers for the third-world since 2005."

In May of last year, that program, which was responsible for the XO laptop, announced plans to manufacture a line of tablet computers, not unlike the Aakash.

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