Move Over iPad: India Unveils $35 Tablet

| News

The Indian government has unveiled a tablet it says can be made for US$35, a price that barely covers a third of the cost of the display for Apple’s iPad. The device will offer very limited functionality — Web browsing, video conferencing, and word processing — and it is intended for use in India’s 25,000 colleges and 500 universities.

The BBC reported that the device runs on solar power, and that it will use a memory card for storage in the manner of many cell phones and digital cameras. The operating system, therefore, will be embedded, and the Indian government said it will run a version of Linux.

At this point, the device is little more than a prototype designed at the government’s behest by the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science. The country’s Human Resource Development Ministry is currently talking to several OEM manufacturers about actually making the device. No deals are yet in place.

If the prototype can be turned into an actual shipping product, it could be an important product for India. WolframAlpha shows India’s population in 2008 to have been 1.18 billion, with a GDP per capita of $1,060. Compare that to the GDP per capita of the United States of $45,200 in 2008, and the importance of a limited-function cheap device that can surf the Web, write documents, and video conference should be apparent.

Indeed, this isn’t the first very low cost device that has been attempted for developing countries. The same Ministry involved in this new project announced a $10 laptop in 2009 called Sakshat that, A.) wasn’t actually a laptop, and B.) never actually came to anything. On the other hand, the One Laptop Per Child project has shipped more than a million laptops for less than $200 to children in the developing world, and the non-profit has plans for a less-than-$99 tablet.

Should India’s new project come to fruition as a shipping product, it isn’t likely to take market share from Apple’s iPad and other Android and WebOS devices coming to market, but it could greatly increase the spread of computing devices into the hands of people with fewer and fewer resources.

You can see a photograph of a Ministry official holding the device in the BBC’s full report.

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Comments

b9bot

Yea right, and the display will be black & white with a resolution of 1 by 1 pixels. There’s no way they could produce an iPad device with all of its features for $35 US.
Let me guess it’s running Winblows 7 too with a battery life of about 1 minute.
Sorry you know what they say, if it sounds to good to be true than it is most likely FAKE!!!!

Bryan Chaffin

b9bot, you seem to have missed several things stipulated (quite clearly) in the article.

1.) It is a limited-function device that in no way will have even a small fraction of the iPad’s capability.

2.) It runs Linux.

3.) It runs on solar power.

brett_x

I wonder how many patents they would have to break to build a device like that and keep the price so low.
Sub $99, I can see. $35 just seems like propaganda (and publicity).

xmattingly

I wonder how many containers full of supply parts they’ll have to steal to hit that $35 price point. Remember the overly optimistic price the one laptop per child thing was originally intended to hit; and whatever they finally got shipped had a much higher price tag.

computerbandgeek

How long do we have to wait for the white version? xD

And if that joke was too lame for you how about Take 2:
Solar powered? Looks like pretty soon every student will have an excuse to go outside to “do their homework”.

furbies

Where is the papadum holder ?

Intruder

No cost for built-in storage, no battery, no license fee for the OS. Most expensive part would be the display.

daimond

Actually from what i read somewhere place the real price are 20u$-25u$ so 35U$ are include profit.

well, maybe yes this are bit propaganda but we would hear the truth this would actualy real or fake. the price 35u$ are not include with solar energy ( this are option to get if they wanT include this solar the price would be more than 35U$).

Dost

Checkout this cool iPad application for Indian audience.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/touch-india-news/id378733778?mt=8

bert

Papadum holder? I can see some people taking offense from that remark.

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