India to debut $45 Android tablet for education

Government scheduled to release Wednesday low-cost tablet, which will likely be sold through education institutes, according to report.

The India government will launch Wednesday a US$45 Google Android media tablet targeted at the education sector, said a report.

The 7-inch touchscreen tablet runs on the Android 2.2 mobile operating system and will have Wi-Fi and multimedia and videoconferencing capabilities, according to the AFP.

Specification-wise, the device will have 180 minutes of battery power, two USB ports and 32GB expandable memory, it said, but noted that the 256MB RAM (random access memory) might limit its performance.

According to the news agency, the low-cost tablet named Aakash, or Sky, will likely be sold through universities and colleges instead of retail channels.

Mamata Varma, spokeswoman for the human resources development ministry, told AFP that the device costs 2,200 rupees (US$45) and the first batch of 500 tablets will be available to students immediately after the launch. The ministry expects 700 of the tablets to be made every day with production picking up when more companies join in the manufacturing, she noted.

According to Reuters, the device will be sold to students at a subsidized price of US$35.

The prototype of the device was revealed last year and touted a US$35 price tag, according to a report by ZDNet Asia's sister site CNET. The low-cost device is part of the government's larger initiative aimed at improving India's educational system through technology, it said.

Other countries are also making efforts in pushing low-cost touchscreen devices for the educational sector. In Singapore, tertiary institute Nanyang Technological University has been working on a solar-powered tablet targeted at rural villages, a spokesperson told ZDNet Asia last year.

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