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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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  • AP link (Score:4, Informative)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:17AM (#33002628)
    Do go to the AP link if you want to "see" it. Funny that they start their story, "It looks like an iPad." The next line should have been, "But I guess you'll never know."

    Pics are on the second link here: []
  • Re:AP link (Score:2, Informative)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:18AM (#33002646)
    Do=Do not...I for suck.
  • Re:Bad FA (Score:3, Informative)

    by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:30AM (#33002802)
    I'm going to have to agree. For $35 I'd pick one up just to see what it does. Even if I had to get a wireless kb/mouse to use it, it would still be an interesting toy. The funny part is, the wireless kb/mouse combo might cost more than the tablet!
  • Re:Later that day (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:30AM (#33002804)

    The car does exist you pretentious moron!!! it's called the TATA Nano and it's running on the roads!! do a friggin' google search! and there was never a sub-$100 shuttle!! atleast much better than the stupid NASA running losses!!!

  • Re:Later that day (Score:5, Informative)

    by toppavak ( 943659 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:33AM (#33002844)
    You mean the Tata Nano []?
  • by anirudh vij ( 1119177 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:38AM (#33002902)
    No specs released yet. All thats certain is that it has a touchscreen,internet access (wifi), usb ports, and a form factor thats something like a smallish rectangular ipad
  • by anirudh vij ( 1119177 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:49AM (#33003036)
    ok sorry. Posted too early. 2GB solid state disk with 32 GB addon. 2 watts power consumption. Solar panel addon (price not included in base cost). & inch touch screen. Got this from []
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:52AM (#33003070) Homepage

    Pandigital Novel - Best of them all as it runs Android 2.0

    Archos 7 -- utter and COMPLETE garbage... Hardware was designed by a insane idiot that was being hit in the head with a hammer while being designed.

    Archos 5 -- Better than the 7 but still complete crap.

    Matricom tablet - Can we put a slower processor in there as well as not let it sleep?

    Camangi Webstation -- Just plain old junk.

    E-Lectio M5 This one crashed on a regular basis. it also would turn its self on for no reason at random times.

    Several of the china UMPC tablets ranging from $99.00 to $199.00 many are copies of each other.

    I suggest you actually look to see what is out there.. Most of them are complete junk because of really low grade hardware, bad design or simply idiots at the wheel during design phase.

  • by pankajmay ( 1559865 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:56AM (#33003124)
    You know that is a topic that is currently being fiercely debated in the civil society of India.

    Just like here in America, you have people who do not want government to be involved at all and then there are those who support government takeover.

    However, since the Indian economy has largely been a pseudo-capitalist economy and largely socialist until the early 1990s, the government gets away by doing this without any rigorous study of whether it should be doing it or handing it to private enterprise..

    I suppose as capitalism strengthens over time, and people realize that entrepreneurship is in their best interest, you will find this debate getting intense. Especially since the country is already a democracy, and as people become assured of their basic necessities, they start questioning the opportunities afforded to them.
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @10:59AM (#33003166)
    According to Engadget, it has 2 GB of RAM (see [] )

    But I think a lot of price considerations have to do with the fact that most westerners aren't going to buy something with a price point that is "too" cheap. People are used to paying $200 for even the cheapest notebooks/netbooks/tablets, if people see a $35 one, they are probably just going to buy the more expensive one to save on "quality" even if they are the same device.

    Of course, this was the same India that created the $10 non-laptop-component-printer that cost $30... So take any reports from cheap electronics in India with a grain of salt...
  • Re:At that price.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by anirudh vij ( 1119177 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:12AM (#33003298)
    And here's the official website []
  • by anirudh vij ( 1119177 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:14AM (#33003318)
    It does support flash []
  • Re:At that price.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by anirudh vij ( 1119177 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:18AM (#33003380)
    And here's a better video (with the browser and the official website open). The touchscreen appears pretty fast. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:21AM (#33003410)

    No the cheapest mobile phone here in india is Rs 900 ~ 18$

  • by anirudh vij ( 1119177 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:25AM (#33003450)
    Quoting from [] """ At the heart of the 10.5-inch tablet lies an ARM chip. The exact chip set to be used has not been disclosed, but it is known that 2GB of memory will be present to back it up. The display is a color touchscrenn with multi-touch support. Furthermore, the configuration includes cloud storage, 10/100 Ethernet, WiFi b/g , a so-called highly-customized operating system and even support for Adobe Flash. Thus, there will be no issues regarding online videos and interactive educational content. Finally, the device comes with a digital camera and compatibility with documents, Adobe PDF and various multimedia formats. """
  • Re:AP link (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:32AM (#33003560) Homepage
    Thanks for that link, with not only pictures, but some useful specs:
    "According to the details,the tablet will come in three versions of 5, 7, and 9 inches display. It will be packed with 2 GB RAM memory, wi-fi connectivity, USB port and powered by a 2-watt system to suit poor power supply areas. It will laso have apps like internet browser, PDF reader, video conferencing facilities, open office, sci-lab, media player, remote device management capability, multimedia input-output interface option, and multiple content viewer."

    2-watt, wifi, 2GB RAM? 5-9 inch screens? For US$35? SOLD. I'll take two. Even if the processor turns out to be the equivalent of a Pentium Classic (but I'd guess a-few-hundred-Mhz ARM or equivalent i.e. at least as fast as the overpriced and still-out-of-date Motorola® CLIQ with MOTOBLUR (as they insist on calling it in print). Definitely a bargain if one will be able to actually get them outside of India)...

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:33AM (#33003576)
    An ARPANET would have been born and morphed internet with or without government support, its just in the late 60s early 1970s few people owned computers really powerful enough to go online and do anything meaningful. ARPANET was formed not because of some great government insight that private enterprise doesn't have, it was simply because no one else owned enough computers to make it be meaningful.

    And how is it worth it for the science? You burn more fossil fuels trying to make the ethanol than you can create in the ethanol! You can't just add more energy to the ethanol, its like in the 1990s when dot-com businesses would sell things at a loss and make up for it in "volume", only rather than a dot-com you have no money invested in it is instead the government stealing money out of your paycheck.

    Sugar Cane is another thing totally fucked up by governments in allowing massive tariffs to be placed on it whenever you import it, whenever the government messes with private enterprise, the consumers lose. By placing barriers to free trade in place, it pretty much means that corn syrup is cheaper than sugar cane because the US simply doesn't have enough places to grow sugar cane and because of artificial barriers its nearly impossible to import it.

    As for algae, it is in its early stages, it is certainly something to watch.
  • Re:At that price.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by awrowe ( 1110817 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:43AM (#33003690)

    This community is comprised of people who have already done all the thinking they need to do;

    You know, I was just about to post a reply to this, then a committed a cardinal sin and thought about it.

    In an effort to drag a shred of on-topicness to this though, has anyone seen any proper specs on this device?

    The best I've found so far is

    According to the details,the tablet will come in three versions of 5, 7, and 9 inches display. It will be packed with 2 GB RAM memory, wi-fi connectivity, USB port and powered by a 2-watt system to suit poor power supply areas.

    but I'm sure there is more out there. That info was found at [], for the sake of interest.

  • by BangaIorean ( 1848966 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:56AM (#33003844)
    Well, this might sound paradoxical, but actually, even 'less developed areas' in India have cellphone connectivity. Those backward areas have patchy electricity supply - the power goes off for almost 10-15 hours per day, on average, in some backward areas. But there is hardly any part of the country that is not covered by GSM cellphones. Sounds paradoxical, but that's how it is - almost everyone carries a phone. Given that, I guess they'll browse through the GSM signal...
  • Re:resistive touch (Score:4, Informative)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:06PM (#33003968) Homepage Journal

    When we talk about a $35 tablet computer, "average price" is not even remotely in the picture. It makes no sense for you to compare averages when we're talking about something extreme.

    Don't like ebay? Palm IIIx runs for about $25 at Goodwill. $20 on Craigslist. And $15 at Weirdstuff(and places like it). But I don't know why you don't like ebay, there are a couple IIIx in good shape for $7 on there right now.

    Here's a $75 Palm m500 [] on the same site you linked. Prefer color and WinCE? Dell Axim x51 runs for about $60 these days, which is coincidentally roughly what it would cost wholesale to produce with the same specs.

    I have some idea what this stuff costs from working on the Kindle and other products, especially given that I actively tried to put together a minimalist low-cost tablet/ereader project. It is quite possible to get to a $35 BOM on a tablet computer, but I it won't be a very modern style tablet. sub-500MHz ARM9, no 3D acceleration, 128MB or less RAM, slow flash interface, poor battery life, not multi-touch, and the list goes on. I think with the right software it could be a practical gadget for the right purposes. But most people scoffed at me when I have proposed these kinds of minimalist devices at the places I've worked.