The latest news this morning in tablet technology is the announcement that Montreal-based technology developer Datawind has released “Aakash,” a tablet running Google’s Android OS that can be purchased for only $35. At the moment, Datawind’s homepage is unavailable (likely due to the popularity of their newly-released product), but multiple sources have confirmed that the tablet will be sold to the Indian government for somewhere around $45 and $50.
The government has plans to subsidize a portion of the cost of the tablet for students in higher education, which will likely be extended to other groups in India. The tablet has a color screen, two USB ports, 256MB of RAM, and is able browse the web and perform word-processing tasks. What does this mean for people in poverty-stricken areas? A lot.
You may remember my other post about the $25 Raspberry Pi computer which was designed to cheaply provide students with the means to access to web content and learn basic computer programming. The growing trend of using open-source software on inexpensive hardware and extending distribution of such devices to people in low-income and poverty-stricken areas is a good thing to see. There still are issues of energy (battery life/ability to charge devices) and internet access that are major barriers to truly connecting people world-wide, which I believe will be changing dramatically over the next few years.
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) use is on the rise. FOSS and decreased hardware costs will be extending educational resources and inter-connectivity in a dramatic way over the next few years.
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