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The anti-iPad: India releases world’s cheapest computer at £22

India has unveiled the world’s cheapest computer device, a £22 tablet, and hailed it as the ‘anti-iPad’ which will help millions of poor people around the world join the digital revolution.

imageMinisters declared the “Aakash” – Hindi for “sky” – a “defining moment” for India and the world, and said the device will accelerate the decline of “digital illiteracy,” boost educational resources, and reduce corruption by allowing users to access government services online.

The seven-inch tablet was developed by a UK-based technology company in partnership with the Indian government. Two years ago Indian officials presented a “$10 laptop” which turned out to be a storage device.

It later pledged to develop a $35 laptop, which became the £22 tablet unveiled yesterday. It operates on Android’s 2.2 operating system, has only 2GB of memory and its screen is spongy to the touch and temperamental. But at £22, it is £377 cheaper than the iPad 2 and £357 cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy.

Kapil Sibal, India’s minister for human resource development, said on Wednesday the Aakash “is not just for us but all those who are disempowered, all of you who have no access, who are marginalised, who live on the fringes of society.”

Suneet Singh Tuli, the device’s creator, said in this sense the Aakash was the “anti-iPad”, which appeared to be true when The Daily Telegraph tested it on Wednesday, but not in a good way.

This article was originally written on an Aakash, and while it connected to the internet, its word processing application deleted the content while “saving” it. “I’m so sorry,” said Mr Tuli.

The world’s digitally illiterate may be closer to crossing the divide, but the journey may take some time.

Filed in: Technology News

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