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$35 Indian iPad 2 Alternative To Go On Sale Within Weeks

It's been almost one year since the Indian Government unveiled plans to sell a $35 tablet device, a fraction of what the Apple iPad 2 costs, as part of a nationwide push to improve literacy rates across a country where about a quarter of the country still can't read or write.

Now, Times Of India (opens in new tab) is reporting that the low cost tablet, which is called Sakshat (Sanskrit for embodiment), will be released by the end of the month after a six month delay caused by a cancellation of the contract.

The Indian Institute of technology in Rajasthan will be the first to receive a batch of 10,000 tablets with another 90,000 units delivered within the next four months. The device will cost Rs 2200 or $49, a third higher than the original $35 promise but still vastly cheaper than the rest of the competition.

The Indian government has pledged to subsidise the cost by half so students will only have to pay the equivalent of $25 for the tablet. It will feature a 7-inch (resistive) touchscreen, onscreen keyboard, front facing camera, Wi-Fi and two USB ports.

However the rest of the specifications leave us to wonder where HCL Technologies, the tablet's manufacturer, cut corners. It will apparently come with 2GB RAM and a 32GB drive, presumably an SSD one.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.