Indian company Datawind announced a $35 dollar tablet computer yesterday aimed at connecting the rural poor to modern technology. While not as powerful as other tablets on the market, the Aakash, meaning sky in Hindi, is far less expenive than the Apple’s iPad ($499), Amazon’s Kindle Fire ($199), and HP’s TouchPad ($99), according to The Christian Science Monitor. It can do word processing, web browsing, and has video conferencing.
The hope is that this technological advance will help India with its goal of having 30 percent of youth go to college by 2020. Currently, only 7 percent of kids graduate from high school, according to an article from the AP. Datawind can produce 100,000 Aakashs a month, not nearly enough to supply India’s 220 million children access to the technology in a timely fashion, according to The Washington Post (at this rate it would take almost 200 years to meet demand).
A question still remains how useful this device would be to rural communities with no access to electricity, let alone WiFi capability. Nonetheless, it seems a step forward for a country with a huge digital divide.