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Education Handhelds Portables Linux

India's $35 Tablet Computer 294

NotBornYesterday was one of many readers sending in news that the Indian government has announced it is helping to develop a $35 tablet computer running Linux. "India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touchscreen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011. The government plans to subsidize the tablets so the cost to students could be $20; and eventually, they hope the cost will fall to $10 per unit. India's human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal, says, 'The motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35, including memory, display, everything.' Using a memory card instead of a hard drive, and running a Linux OS, the designers have managed to keep the price low, and are now looking for manufacturing partners. The tablet can be used for functions like word processing, Web browsing, and video conferencing. It has a solar power option too, which is important in India's less developed areas, though that add-on costs extra."
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India's $35 Tablet Computer

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:28AM (#33002760) Homepage Journal

    but at least my dream of having a stack of "PADDs" piled up on my desk (Star Trek TNG style) may finally come true!

    I have the communicator, now for a working tricorder.....

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:32AM (#33002830)
    At a $35 price point, I would posit that any touchscreen could be categorized as 'shitty' although there is a chance that it will be 'sucktastic'.
  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:41AM (#33002962)
    Why am I picturing something that resembles an Etch-a-Sketch?
  • by Robotron23 ( 832528 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:47AM (#33003012)

    I found myself having fainted for dehydration outside a small village in Uttar Pradesh. I came to but was apparantly delirious, blathering wildly about my deadlines - but it was my gestures which were to change my life from there on. My hands, so used to typing out at the desk, had begun to reanact keystrokes in the same manner as the fellow who plays Mozart's hands dash across the pianoforte keys in Amadeus.

    A peasent stumbled across my slumped corpse; he last asked me what I was doing in a business suit in the glaring heat of the northern hemisphere in late June (this was about a month ago) . Fortunately he had water, and was able to drag me in to a nearby village. I apparantly spoke about all sorts of computing stuff. I even confessed I dreamt I left comments on tech sites but woke up of course to find none - sombrely the young man, a mere kid in his 20s, got up and left without even a word.

    The man knew what was up; after my delirium had passed and I was coherant - a small, $35 Indian Tablet Computer lay infront of me. 'It is the best thing we can do instead of a keyboard' - said Ranvir, who had taken the exact funds from my wallet in exchange for it in the local tech market close to the Ganges. It was then my capitalist attitude morphed into a centre-left smorgasbord from a simple act of kindness. Of course it didn't make economic sense to rescue my incapicitated husk...it did not square with the Rand stuff I'd worshipped so libertarianistically.

    Upon squaring together an Internet connection with mere gaffer tape and a mini-co axial carefully hammered into the 3.5mm audio jack...I was on. The world opened up, and as I sat in that little squalid shack which was my temporary home...blogging became something completely new. The egoistic, day-to-day mundane became the selfless and vivid recollection of events in the village who had granted me honorary citizen status. I got to know what broadband would feel like at 56k speed, but not due to poor latency...but instead economy components. Upon blogging my experience with the good samaritan and the villagers, a commenter posted:

    "Hey man you should be like the chieftain or leader or some crap? Lead these folks into a revolutionary tech thing! -- Lance"

    It was that night that I near-emptied my bank account buying 200 Tablets at $35 - that's $7000 bucks. I gave a tablet to every villager bar a few spares. It was then I set about making speeches about online rights. Having educated the villagers to open source rights, technology issues, we set about changing the world. Our first stop was a pilgrimage to the Nepalese steppes to sabotage a Dalai Lama press conference for publicity, but as about fifty of us packed up to go I received a call from David in editorial back home - my HTC Android! It was still on!

    "Pete? Pete. Hi we need you back here in England as soon as possible there's a few urgents things to cover. Can you fly back tomorrow afternoon?"

    A tear had already dropped from my face to the Tablet on the nearby bed. Two villagers had entered and were looking at me intently as I had my conversation in English: "Yeah, yeah I can make it...can you wire some cash over; I had some unexpected expenses and..."

    Dave was in a hurry and brusque: "Okay, money will be in your account within a few hours. Be back here Tuesday morning - deadlines to fill and all that. Your computer has been pining for you I swear....later man."

    Tablet PCs in India changed my life, and though my plans to become the head of a village failed and the depression built upon leaving...the experience shall never leave me.

  • by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:58AM (#33003140)

    If outsourcing has taught me anything, this is going to BSOD unless you follow the step-by-step script that comes with the tablet.

  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:20AM (#33003406) Journal
    The basic formula for posting on a forum is:

    1) Think. 2) Type.

    Whoa there, buddy. This isn't any old forum.

    This community is comprised of people who have already done all the thinking they need to do; furthermore, both the *amount* and the *comparative intelligence* of the thinking of a single slashdotter surpasses the collective mental output of a medium-sized nation of Joe Sixpack, Suzie Handbag, and the other normals. We are each already are experts on any topic that could come up in an article discussion.

    Your formula is one step too long for those that inhabit the nerve centers of the beast we call Slashdot.

    It seems you put a lot of thought into your post -- which is wrong, for Slashdot. You should already know what to type without thinking. You, sir, are a poseur.

  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:22AM (#33003436) Homepage
    A hackable linux-based Etch-a-Sketch® would still be a good deal at $35.00US...
  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:23AM (#33003446) Homepage Journal

    This Etch-a-Sketch here? Yes, I can confirm that it has dual "arm" sub-units controlled by a powerful neural net CPU (a learning computer)!

  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:25AM (#33003456)
    1. Build a prototype mock-up.
    2. Hold press conference about a $35 tablet running Linux.
    3. Wait for Microsoft to offer $$$ to switch to Windows.
    4. Profit
  • by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:54AM (#33003822)
    I already feel quite penetrated by advertisers. I don't think I can handle "greater penetration"
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:06PM (#33003964) Journal
    "I've got a flat screen monitor, 40 inches wide, I believe that yours says 'etch-a-sketch' on the side..."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:08PM (#33003982)

    SOMEbody's gonna get hurt...real bad...

  • by Subm ( 79417 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:27PM (#33004224)

    FTA: Mamta Varma, a ministry spokeswoman, said falling hardware costs and intelligent design make the price tag plausible.

    Through divine providence, I sadly predict this product will sell well in the United States, especially among the non-technical.

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:37PM (#33005084) Homepage

    I'm half feather half dot, you insensitive clod.

  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @04:14PM (#33007170)
    It can do porn. What else matters?

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.