The AFP Newswire is reporting that a British technology company called Datawind Ltd is now currently selling a wireless tablet computer for Internet access only for US $35, for educational purposes, and another for US $50, for those wishing more features. Briton’s Mail Online says 100,000 of the lower priced models have been sold in just India in the past year alone.
The Newswire is reporting that the tablets are called Aakash, which is the Hindu word for heaven. Datawind’s Suneet Singh Tuli, its chief executive officer hails originally from India and founded the company with dreams of supplying a good inexpensive way to access the Internet by the billion and a half people in his homeland. In an interview with the Newswire, he says that less developed countries cannot afford to miss out on emerging technologies and not having Internet access means for many, being relegated to a life of poverty without the possibility of improvement.
He points out that in the 1990’s there were still just 750 million people in the whole world on the Internet. Now that number has climbed to over two billion, and many of them are from highly populated countries such as China, India and Brazil. But, he points out, that number is still just a fraction of those that could be on the Internet, and his new device should help those that haven’t been able to afford a machine that could get them there. He also added that it is his belief that some four billion more people would be on the Internet today if they had the means. And that, of course, is his customer base.
Online points out that many so-called underdeveloped countries actually have better Internet access than many that are considered developed. India and China for example provide free wireless service to more people than the United States or any country in Europe. For those people, the only thing getting in the way of getting online is the absence of an inexpensive device. A notebook priced at just $35 would be less expensive even than a cell phone, and with a bigger screen it would seem the perfect platform for people living in areas that may not have what western countries consider prime application entities. But that is only because the model is different. In the United States for example, an application is only considered viable if it can help in selling something. In India, simply having access to a government website that allows people all over the country to know what is going on would be considered groundbreaking.