Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Priced at $20, the High Functioning Aakash 2 Tablet Could Change the World

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, November 13 2012

Two weeks ago we published a brief noting the Indian government's rollout of a project to distribute very cheap Android tablets to millions of students. Now the newly-launched digital magazine Quartz has published a fascinating feature article that is provocatively titled How a $20 tablet from India could blindside PC makers, educate billions and transform computing as we know it.

The tablet is priced at $20, which makes it "the cheapest fully functional tablet PC on the planet." The nearest competitor is a Chinese model that goes for $45.

In the developing world, and especially in India, a country where one billion people have a monthly income less than $200, every rupee matters. Aakash means “blue sky” in Hindi, and that’s a fair description of Datawind’s goals for the tablet. Ultimately, says Tuli, the government would like to distribute one to each of India’s 220 million students. India has 900 million cell phone subscriptions, but in a country where smartphones are rare, 95% of Indians have no computing device. Which means the Aakash, or something like it, could become the sole computer for hundreds of millions of people in India, not to mention elsewhere in the developing world.

The Aakash 2, as the tablet is called, has met with enthusiastic responses from jaded test users in the U.S.; it is also manufactured to work with less sophisticated infrastructure, so that pages load quickly even when connectivity is slow, for example.

The article makes clear the enormous significance of a low-cost, high-functioning tablet. My thought upon arriving at the final paragraph was a variation on "I have seen the future and it works."

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Scary Monsters

Facebook opens up about its experiments on tweaking voting behavior; breaking news in the FCC net neutrality battle; getting hard data on civic tech's impact on political efficacy; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: System-Gaming

Why techies interested in political reform are facing challenges; the latest data on Democratic voter contacts in 2014; Hungary's anti-Internet tax demonstrations are getting huge; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Gimme Shelter

The link between intimate partner violence and surveillance tech; the operational security set-up that connected Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden; how Senate Dems are counting on tech to hold their majority; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Tribes

Edward Snowden on the Internet's impact on political polarization; trying to discern Hillary Clinton's position on NSA reform; why Microsoft is bullish on civic tech; and much, much more GO

monday >

First POST: Inventions

How voter data-sharing among GOP heavyweights is still lagging; why Facebook's News Feed scares news publishers; Google's ties to the State Department; and much, much more. GO

More