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In India, internet access for poorer students with low-cost tablet


Akash is a touchscreen tablet that aims to give students around India internet access at an affordable price.

The price of most portable internet devices means they remain unaffordable for poorer communities around the world. Now, in India, a new touchscreen tablet device hopes to change this. In partnership with the Indian Government, Aakash aims to give students around the country portable internet access at an affordable price. The seven inch Android tablet — developed by Datawind in the UK — supports internet browsing and video-conferencing, has Wi-Fi capabilities, two USB ports and a maximum of 32GB storage. However, by far the most interesting feature of the product, compared to devices such as the iPad or Kindle Fire, is the price. The Indian Government are planning to buy 100,000 of the tablets for a pilot scheme, making them available to students for INR 1,750. After this, they hope to roll the scheme out to millions, and remove the pricing barriers blocking internet access for the masses. With a three-hour battery life, the tablet is also integrated with social networking applications such as Facebook, Twitter and email. The current version been developed specifically for the needs of students, but Datawind have announced they also plan to offer a commercial model of the tablet called UbiSlate, due to launch later this year and expected to retail for about USD 60. The video below explains Aakash in more detail. As Aakash hopes to end the “digital divide” in education between the rich and poor, is this one for governments around the world to take inspiration from?



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