Products such as Apple's iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab are too expensive for the majority of India's 1.2 billion population, even the country's growing middle class.
To tackle this problem, the Indian government is buying a pilot run of 100,000 units of the Aakash - or "sky" in Hindi - touchscreen tablets for $50 a piece from British company DataWind, reports Reuters.
"The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide," Telecoms and Education Minister Kapil Sibal said.
The 100,000 trial products will be handed out for free to students, with 500 of the web-enabled tablets already having been distributed.
DataWind said that the Google Android-powered Aakash has a full touchscreen, wireless connection, two USB ports, and features a three-hour battery life. However, some users have complained that the device is too slow.
Nikant Vohra, an electrical engineering student, said: "It could be better. If you see it from the price only, it's okay, but we have laptops and have used iPads, so we know the difference."
Rajat Agrawal, executive editor of gadget reviewers BGR India, added that the tablet's 660 mhz processor is "decent" for the price, but warned that the product seemed slow, while the touchscreen is not very agile.
After giving out the first Aakash tablets for free, the Indian government aims to sell them to students for the subsidised price of $35 next year, followed by a retail version hitting shops in India costing about $60.
DataWind chief executive Suneet Singh added that future versions of the product would include a mobile phone connection, making it more useful in rural areas of India.
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