Hands On With the $20 Indian Android Tablet

The Ubislate 7ci, also known as the Aakash2, is the latest gadget from Datawind, a Canadian company that’s spent seven years trying to find the ideal market for some really neat data-optimization technology. On devices like the PocketSurfer and PocketSurfer 2, Datawind showed that it can display desktop Web pages quickly with low-cost devices on super-low-bandwidth networks like 2G GPRS. But it never gained major market traction in the Western world, especially as 3G and 4G networks have spread.

India may be the place that really needs Datawind’s expertise. Datawind’s enthusiastic founder, Suneet Singh Tuli, just inked a deal with the Indian government to subsidize his $40.41 tablet by half for up to 220 million Indian students. That means Indian teachers and kids will get a Web-capable device for $20 up front.