The Aakash-2 is a US$21 Tablet That Will Soon Be In the Hands of Students in India: Will Frugal Innovation Change The World?

To make the internet available to over 220 million students, the government of India has committed to subsidize 50% of the new Aakash (known as the Aakash-2 and made by Indian company Datawind) - a 7-inch tablet that normally would retail in India for around US$40.

The cost of the Aakash-2 for students will be roughly US$21 (1,132 rupees). That means the cost to the Indian government for Aakash-2 subsidies could run around US$1.6 billion per year over the next five years (assuming 40 million students will get their own Aakash-2 each year).

As reported on Nov. 29th, 2012 in Mashable, the Aakash-2 is an Android-powered device with "512 MB of RAM, a [256 MB RAM] 1 Ghz processor, 4 GB of flash memory, a multi-touch capacitative screen, front-facing camera, an internal microphone and speakers."

How is it possible to make a working low-priced wireless device that uses the same processor (although running at a slightly slower speed) as the original iPad?

The Aakash-2 forgoes the retina screen and higher speed connectors that are available on newer iPads. But the Aaakash-2 does have a color touch-screen, a USB port, a MicroSD slot for expanding memory and a charger.

Another way that the Aakash-2 saves money is by using open source software.

As reported in ZDnet: "One of the more impressive things about the Aakash-2 are its communication options. They include Wi-Fi a/b/g, a GPRS modem for which subscriptions will only cost 98 rupees per month, or less than US$2, and the ability to add a SIM card for voice phone access."

"In a country where more than 600 million people are under the age of 25, the Aakash tablet's makers have the opportunity to bridge the digital divide for hundreds of millions of students. And perhaps even jumpstart an Indian mobile hardware industry."

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