The world’s cheapest tablet is about to get even cheaper after Indian telecoms minister Kapil Sibal announced the subsidised Aakash 4 will eventually ship for just Rs.1,500 (£14).
The Aakash project was originally conceived by New Delhi in 2011 as a way to get computing devices in the hands of millions of students across the sub-continent.
However, it has been plagued by a series of delays – many of which were laid squarely at the door of UK company Datawind, which was responsible for delivering the devices.
After several false starts that saw precious few tablets shipped, Sibal is now claiming the Aakash 4 will go on sale from January 2014, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).
Datawind has apparently lost the exclusive contract for the devices, which will now be manufactured by “several players”.
Sibal is quoted as saying 18 manufacturers have tendered for the lucrative contract, although formal bids open on Friday.
The 7-incher will initially cost Rs.2,500 (£24.60) although that price will eventually drop to Rs.1,500, according to Sibal.
Specs-wise the 4G-enabled tablet will apparently come with 4GB of internal storage which can be expanded by up to 32GB with an SD card.
According to details released in July, the device should be no more than 500g in weight and 0.75in thick, with a minimum of 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM. Battery capacity should be enough to support at least three hours of 720p video playback and five hours of web browsing.
Despite numerous misfires, the Indian government is still aiming for an ambitious target with the project – to put an Aakash in the hands of every school kid in the country in 5-7 years, according to PTI. ®