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Datawind could bring Aakash tablet to Brazil, Thailand, Turkey and Sri Lanka

by Doug Drinkwater

January 24 2012

The $35 Aakash tablet was unveiled by Indian human resource development minister Kapil Sibal (right) last year
The $35 Aakash tablet was unveiled by Indian human resource development minister Kapil Sibal (right) last year

Datawind, the company behind the $35 Aakash tablet for students in India, reveals that it is in 'advanced talks' with a number of other countries over the ultra-cheap slate.

Speaking to TabTimes at an event in London yesterday, Datawind’s Alia Khan revealed that the Indian government has asked for an improved version of the Aakash with better specifications, and said that these enhanced models will fill the rest of the tender with the Indian government.

Specifically, the improvements include a faster, more powerful 700MHz processor, a better battery and a capacitive touchscreen. Khan said that these tablets will also make their way to the commercial market (under the UbiSlate branding) in the near future, with the first models expected to hit UK in late February or early March from £99 (approximately $155).

There are no immediate plans to change the operating system (from Android 2.2), although Khan did say that the firm would check to see how ‘stable’ Android 2.3 at some point in the future.

TabTimes asked how the process is going for getting these tablets into students' hands in India, and Khan replied that while the pilot has currently enabled up to one million students a chance to try the tablet. The eventual aim is to bring the tablets to 10 million students in India.

Talks with the governments of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Brazil are at a ‘good stage’, according to Khan, although further details are not available at this time.

UK-based Datawind has enjoyed a good start to life with the Aakash tablet, with the firm recently reporting that pre-orders had hit 1.4 million units in just two weeks. The company is due to install two new factories in the near future, just to cope with demand for the tablet.

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