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World’s Cheapest Tablet. A New Height or a Headache?

If you’re not just looking for an affordable tablet, but an uber-affordable tablet, look no further than the newly released Aakash Tablet. The Aakash is the result of a collaboration between London-based company DataWind and the government of India, and the current version for students checks in at a mere $35.According to the Aakash Website, India’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology says that the new tablet will “end that digital divide” between the wealthy who have access to digital information and media, and the poor who do not. DataWind is also scheduled to release an upgraded version of the Aakash called the Ubislate 7 in early 2012 for the commercial market.

Its low price tag is certainly appealing, and it could make digital content available to millions of people who have been unable to afford it until now. But how well does a $35 tablet stack up?

How the Aakash Compares to the Competition

First, let’s look at some of the specs of this Android 2.2 tablet. India Today describes the Aakash with a 7” resistive touch screen with 800×400 pixel resolution. It comes with a 366 Mhz processor (Connexant with graphics accelerator and HD video processor) and 256 MB of RAM. Its storage capacity is just 2GB, with up to 32 GB supported. Its battery runs up to 180 minutes, and it also features two USB 2.0 ports.

Right away it’s obvious that the Aakash is not in a league with the iPad or other tablets that cost hundreds of dollars more. The Aakash screen is relatively small, the processor is slow, and the battery life is disappointingly short. According to the IBN Live Website and PCQuest, other complaints revolve around the screen not responding and the tablet itself being made cheaply—which, unfortunately, you have to expect, considering its $35 price. It also lacks GPS or 3G connection.

Another drawback of the Aakash is that its Android 2.2 OS is intended for phones–not tablets–and has no access to the Android Market. It does come with a number of preloaded apps, including many educational programs for the student version of the tablet. It also can access GetJar, an independent app marketplace. But it still doesn’t connect to the Android Market, which severely limits the kinds of apps you can put on an Aakash.

Why the Aakash Is Still Worth Looking At

But the Aakash does bring some solid features to the table. While it doesn’t have 3G built in, it does have Wi-Fi access. One of its most intriguing features is its two USB ports. These allow for all kinds of flexibility, including thumb drives and dongles that do provide 3G connectivity. It doesn’t have external speakers, but it does have a headphone jack. DataWind promises to resolve some of the problems with the Aakash in its upcoming Ubislate 7 release.

While it may be no match for the higher-end tablets out there, the Aakash is the cheapest tablet on the market today. For only $47, the proposed price for the next gen UbiSlate 7, you won’t be able to get high-end performance, but you might be able to pick up something that will pretty much do what you want. For some folks that little price tag might make the difference between having digital content access and having none. For others who have been holding out on purchasing a tablet, maybe the low price of the Aakash is just what they’ve been waiting for.

Tommy Ramirez eats, sleeps and breathes all things technology, and is currently obsessed with the Web hosting options available today. He recommends checking out these web hosting reviews for online comparisons of web hosting for small business, as well as details of services and best values to fit your business and personal sites.

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