NEW DELHI (USA Today) - India introduced a cheap tablet computer today, saying it would deliver modern technology to the countryside to help lift villagers out of poverty.
The computer, called [the] Aakash, or "sky" [actually "space," which includes all the visible sky] in Hindi [akasha in Sanskrit], is the latest in a series of "world's cheapest" innovations in India that include [the world's cheapest computer with alternative power,] $2,040 compact Nano car, a $15 water purifier, and $2,000 open-heart surgery.
Developer Datawind is selling the tablets to the government for about $45 each, and subsidies will reduce that to $35 for students and teachers. In comparison, the cheapest Apple iPad tablet costs $499, while the recently announced Kindle Fire will sell for $199.
Datawind says it can make about 100,000 units a month at the moment, not nearly enough to meet India's hope of getting its 220 million children online.
Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal called the announcement a message to all children of the world. "This is not just for us. This is for all of you who are disempowered," he said. "This is for all those who live on the fringes of society." More