An Android tablet at less than $40? Yes, you read that right

by: Danic FilipMarch 27, 2012
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Over the years, you’ve probably seen quite a few bargains online or at your local carrier. Remember the great $99 TouchPad firesale? Well, here is an Android tablet that sells for much less than $100, one that is surprisingly good for its declared purpose.

The story will take us to India, a country where hi-tech gadgets are becoming ever so popular, even though hundreds of millions of people have little experience (if any) in using them. That is exactly the problem that the Indian Ministry of Education is trying to tackle. The plan is to introduce Android tablets to schools in rural areas that lack access to modern technology.

Namely, the Indian government will buy a total of 100,000 tablets at a cost of 2,250 rupees (about $44) each. The tablets will be sold to local schools at the price of 1,100 rupees per tablet, which is about $22. According to a report from Wall Street Journal, some tablets will be reserved for students who wish to buy them, and they will cost around $35. The tablets will also be available at local retail outlets, for all others who are interested, where they will cost around $60.


Are the $44 Android Tablets any Good?

Perhaps, by the standards of many of us, the $44 Aakash tablets distributed by the Indian government are nothing special. But when you consider the price and the purpose of the tablets, these slates are definitely impressive.

By now, you are probably wondering about the specs that these tablets have to offer. Well, we will answer the question for you:

  • Processor: Conexant A8, 700MHz
  • RAM: 256MB
  • Storage: 2GB, but expandable to 32GB
  • Display: 7-inch  resistive touch screen with 800×400 resolution
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, GPRS modem
  • Battery: Up to 180 minutes (3200 mAh)
  • Operating system: Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • Other features: 2 USB ports, 3.5mm jack for audio, HD video playback and streaming
The listed specs belong to the Aakash Ubislate 7+ model (made by DataWire, in the UK), but a cheaper model will come with a weaker processor and battery.

Here’s a video of the Aakash tablet in action:

Doesn’t look that bad, right? After all, a device designed for educational use doesn’t require fancy graphics or large amounts of memory to serve its purpose! Moreover, students would still be able to keep in touch via social media, play some games, and, enjoy the whole tablet experience. On the downside, the battery is very poor (which may be a problem in areas with rolling blackouts) and the resistive screen leaves room for improvement.

But is this just a start. We can expect better specs and a beefier battery in future version of the Aakash. And really, can you find anything better out there for such a low price?

  • What you have said is absolutely right. In fact right now the specifications are being worked on the second version called Aakash 2.
    The only glitch is that the manufacturer is not able to roll out the device at the agreed upon timeline, as the order book are right now at around a million units.

  • Aakash 2 or Ubislate is somewhat OK. Also there are shitload of other tablets in 100-200$ range like this.

  • Vitor Hugo Santos

    For what it seems, it isn’t multitouch

  • Graham Laight

    Is the story you’re referring to the one from October last year (linked below)? If so, it would be helpful to make it clear that the article is not about new information.

  • John

    800×400 resolution is news to me. Wonder if there’s going to be an XLONG_SCREEN uses-feature like the Acer Iconia Smart has for its 1024×480 screen, and if existing apps will default to being centered in the middle instead of squished beyond recognition?