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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 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.