Datawind is back, setting a new world’s cheapest tablet record

by David Needle

November 12 2012

The Aakash 2 is an ultra-cheap tablet that's more powerful than the original model.
The Aakash 2 is an ultra-cheap tablet that's more powerful than the original model.

It’s back. The Aakash 2 tablet is the new version of Datawind’s ultra-cheap tablet that made headlines last year when it came out for under $50 in India.

Now the Aakash 2 is out and, and it will sell to university students in India for a mere $20 thanks to government subsidies that cover about half its cost.

While it got plenty of buzz, an article in Quartz notes the original Aakash 1 failed because it was underpowered and cheaply designed. But the Android-driven Aakash 2 has a processor as powerful as the original iPad and twice as much RAM.

“Its LCD touchscreen displays full-screen video without hiccups, it browses the web, and it even holds up when playing videogames,” says Quartz. “If you’re a student with no other computing device, attaching a keyboard to it transforms it into a serviceable replacement for a traditional PC.”

A new wave of low cost tablets?

So while the tech press in U.S. debates whether various $199 tablets from the likes of Amazon and Google are good enough, Datawind may be a harbinger of ultra-cheap tablets to come.

“The revolution will come from the developing world to the U.S.,” Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic, tells Quartz. “These tablets will kill the markets for high-end players—for Microsoft in particular.”

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