Apple’s Ipad 2: $499

Amazon’s Fire: $199

India’s Aakash: $35

Connecting 220 million students with the world’s cheapest tablet: Priceless.

India - Kids - 063

India drives to connect rural students

What is The “Aakash“?

It is a low-cost, high-performance computer tablet, price at $35 per device.

It is designed to proliferate knowledge through education in India, especially in rural regions. Despite its rock bottom price it still displays a 7 inch screen, plays high-definition video, streams video chatting, hosts word processing, runs Android 2.2 operation system, possesses 32 gigabyte memory, uses GPRS for connecting to the Internet from anywhere, and uses WiFi for Youtube streaming in hot spots. The Indian government will subsidized each table down to $35.  This is ideal for university students because it allows them to build better human capital with their limited resources.  Previously, many have been cut off from the rest of the world due nonexistent infrastructure.

The English translation of Aakask is “sky.”  This tablet’s release will mark the beginning of a new dawn in education in India and the world.

What Does Aakash Mean For The Tablet Market?

Datawind, the private company manufacturing Aakash, announced that the tablet will be priced at $60 dollars for the commercial market. It will be on shelves by November.  This will encroach on the tablet war already progressing in India; currently Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7 holds just under half the market and less than one in five tablets is an Apple Ipad.  Dozens of other models struggle for niches.  The vanguard shipment of Aakash tablets numbers 100,000.  When this large-scale field test proves successful eight to ten million more will be bought by the Indian government.

Undercutting the more expensive tablets the Aakash will force innovation and a price war.  Aakash forces a technological survival of the fittest; the best and cheapest technologies will overthrow the more expensive models.  The economist term for this is creative destruction.

Unless other companies build a better tablet they very simply will be locked out of the market.  The cunning Indian government will disseminate cheaper and higher quality tablets, with internet access, by forcing the hand of the private sector.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Indian Education?

At the unveiling today Kapil Sibal, the Indian Human Resource Minister, aptly described Aakash’s historic significance,

“There are some moments in history that will be milestones recognised by future generations. This is one such milestone. Today, we see the beginning of a dream realised, a dream in which every student in every corner of this country will have access to technology that defines the 21st Century.”

By bringing the world to the fingertips of their students schools towards increasing the quality of education exponentially.  Answers to impossible questions will be just a click away.

It also forces the hand of Western education.  Already, towns and cities across the Western world have already launched similar educational initiative.  This is not enough; every statistic points to American and European students falling behind their Chinese and Indian counterparts.  Many American colleges already distribute laptops, tablets must be given to the coming classes if American schools are to stay competitive.  Otherwise, American education will fall victim to creative destruction.

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