India has announced the world's cheapest tablet computer—just $60, or $35 with a student discount, reports Reuters. Called the "Aakash," or "sky," the tablet was developed by a small British company together with the Indian Institute of Technology, and is assembled in India. With a vast swath of the country too poor to afford top-of-the-line tablets, "The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded," says Telecoms and Education Minister Kapil Sibal. "Aakash will end that digital divide."
Just 8% of Indians have Internet access, compared to 40% of people in China, and the government fears it is falling behind other emerging markets when it comes to IT. Powered by Google's Android operating system, the Aakash has two USB ports and a three-hour battery, but it has only a resistive LCD display instead of full-touch screen, and some complain it is too slow. The first 100,000 units are being given to students for free, as part of a pilot program. Once full production is up and running and government bulk orders begin, they price is expected to fall further—to as low as $20 for students.