An iPad for the Masses: India Presents $35 Touch-Tablet Computer

Yesterday, the Indian government brought out a prototype of a low-budget tablet computer, which is supposed to be made available next year for $35. The Hindu reported that the government plans to give 200 million schoolchildren access to the devices.

India already produces the world’s cheapest (though occasionally flammable ) automobile, the Tata Nano . The touchscreen tablets will be stripped down, taking advantage of cloud computing, and

most of the parts were available over the shelf, N.K. Sinha, Joint Secretary in charge of the project said. The device has a touch-screen, video-conferencing facility, multimedia content, searchable Pdf reader, unzip tool, and storage. Work is now on to provide these with solar panels. 

Eventually, the government said, the price could go as low as $10—one-fiftieth the price of a bottom-of-the-line iPad, and one-tenth the target price of the MIT Media Lab’s One Laptop Per Child affordable-computer program.

Don’t go to the Apple Store for a refund yet, though. The BBC writes that India’s previous announcement of an affordable-computer breakthrough failed to live up to its promise:

Last year, one of the ministry’s officials announced it was about to unveil a $10 laptop, triggering worldwide media interest.

But there was disappointment after the “Sakshat” turned out to be a prototype of a handheld device, with an unspecified price tag, that never materialised.