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India gets $25 Android tablet

British Aakash 2 will reach millions of students, thanks to subsidies

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The long-awaited low cost Aakash 2 tablet from UK firm Datawind has finally been officially launched in India, complete with several new hardware enhancements which the government will be hoping helps spur student learning.

The Aakash 2, which is commercially available as the UbiSlate 7Ci for Rs 3,500 ($US64), is costing the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) Rs 2,263 ($US43), although government subsidies will put the price charged to students at just Rs 1,130($US24.65).

The original Aakash was launched around a year ago, but the low-spec, Android 2.2-based device received a largely hostile reception.

Things went from bad to worse for the government’s ambitious IT project when the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur, which had been running the show at a regional level, fell out with Datawind, stalling shipments.

Things came back on track in March this year after IIT-Bombay took over and struck a deal soon after for 100,000 of the new tablets.

The Aakash 2 will feature a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor processor and a 7in, capacitive, 800x480 display. The Android 4.0-based device features 512MB RAM and internal memory of 4GB, which is expandable up to 32GB using a micro SD card, according to IBNLive.

Battery life is around four hours and there’s also a front-facing camera.

Indian president Pranab Mukherjee launched the tablet, highlighting the importance the government is attaching to the ambitious IT project which aims to put computing devices in the hands of hundreds of millions of students over the coming five years. ®

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