Android tablet to debut at less than $40

An Android tablet will launch in India at a subsidized price of $22. But even without the government subsidy, it's still cheap at about $60.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
2 min read

Thought the $99 HP TouchPad was a bargain? Think again. India will sell a subsidized Android tablet at prices as low as $22, according to a Bloomberg report.

The subsidized 7-inch Aakash tablet will sell for as little as $22. The retail version about $60.
The subsidized 7-inch Aakash tablet will sell for as little as $22. At retail, about $60. Aakashslate

The Indian government will buy 100,000 tablets for 2,250 rupees (about $49) and then resell them to schools at prices as low as 1,100 rupees, about $22, according to Bloomberg. (Note: a Wall Street Journal report says it will be sold to students for 1,750 rupees or about $35.)

The tablets, branded "Aakash," will be purchased from U.K.-based DataWind and then sold at the subsidized price, Bloomberg said, citing statements from Kapil Sibal, India's telecommunications minister, at a news conference on October 5. The Indian government plans to buy 10 million tablets over the next five years, the report said.

The device appears to be a later version of a a tablet that was demonstrated in August of last year by Sibal. "Technology that is low cost, that provides quality access, that can be owned and operated by every student, would truly empower the child," Sibal is quoted as saying in today's Bloomberg article.

But prices are higher at retail. For example, the Aakashslate Web site lists the price at 2,999 rupees, or about $60. By comparison, the iPad 2 starts at 29,500 rupees, or about $655.

So what do you get for $60 at retail? A 7-inch tablet running Android 2.2 with an embedded GPRS modem and Wi-Fi. Note that GPRS does not deliver 3G speeds but something that's more comparable to 2G or dial-up speeds, according to Will Strauss, a wireless analyst at Forward Concepts.

And, needless to say, it does not boast the fit-and-finish, performance, and features of an iPad or a TouchPad. But at those prices it's hard to gripe.

Here are the full specs:

  • Processor: Conexant with graphics accelerator and HD Video processor.
  • RAM: 256MB
  • Storage: 2GB expandable to 32GB
  • Ports: One USB
  • Display: 7-inch with 800x400 resolution, resistive touch screen
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, GPRS modem
  • Battery: Rated by vendor at up to 180 minutes
  • Operating system: Android 2.2