Indian Government Announces $35 Tablet Computer

Want a tablet computer but don’t have the cash? There’s some good news for you, the government in India has just unveiled the prototype of a tablet they claim will only cost around $35 each.

The Linux-based device was shown off by India’s human resources development minister at a press event yesterday. The goal of the tablet is to bring affordable Internet connectivity to students all across the country of more than 1 billion people.

Says a rep for the Ministry:

The aim is to reach such devices to the students of colleges and universities, and to provide these institutions a host of choices of low-cost access devices around ($35) or less in near future.

The government is now in the process of contracting manufacturers to produce the device, which the Ministry hopes to have in the hands of students in 2011.

India unveils $35 tablet computer [ChicagoBreakingNews.com]

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  1. rookie says:

    I have a question about the guys who build such a device…
    Do they ever get to eat???

  2. denros says:

    An extra billion people online?

    All I can say is, sure hope it uses IPV6…
    http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2008/08/were-running-out-of-ipv4-addresses-time-for-ipv6-really.ars

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    So if Steve Jobs couldn’t get a clear signal in a room with only 500 hot spots, what will the interference of 1 billion online users cause?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      The brown noise. Wear your galoshes.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        LOLs. “My country tis of thee…” (if you remember the South Park episode “Worldwide Recorder Concert” you’ll know why I’m singing it.)

  4. jessjj347 says:

    Aren’t there netbooks available for $70 right now? I’m thinking that if a person in India can’t afford a $70 netbook, they’re not going to be able to afford a $35 laptop. I could be wrong though.

    • osiris73 says:

      Over there, for most people, that is drastically more affordable. That’s like someone in the US saying, “If they can’t afford a $70,000 car, I doubt they can afford a $35,000 car.” I can JUST afford a $35,000 car but there’s no way in hell I can afford a $70,000 car.

      Those billion people they’re referring to make just a few dollars per day. The difference between $35 and $70 is huge.

      • jessjj347 says:

        Yeah, that’s true. I guess I was thinking of it more like, if someone doesn’t have any money to spare on things that are not needed, they won’t buy them.

    • deliciouscake says:

      where can you find a $70 netbook? I want one

    • proficiovera says:

      India plans on subsidizing the tablet so it will cost the students $20. Eventually they hope the price would fall to $10 each.

      http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/07/23/1338249/Indias-35-Tablet-Computer

  5. Angus99 says:

    The article notes that “software drives up the price”. I bought a Netbook for $299 recently – I’d love to know what the final all in price for this will, in fact, be. “Indian low cost engineering” may have broken another price barrier, but as an employee at a company that has outsourced a lot of work to same, I can testify that it’s never as cheap as it’s promised to be. Not that the executives here are interested in the true cost, of course. We laid off more people today. And frankly, it doesn’t take engineering genius to build a device with minimum functionality from the cheapest parts. Not saying such a device doesn’t have a legitimate value, it does – but nobody split the atom here.

    • damageinc says:

      “but as an employee at a company that has outsourced a lot of work to same, I can testify that it’s never as cheap as it’s promised to be.”

      Agreed. I work with an offshore software development team and the quality of their work is sub par. Sure the cost to employ 5 of them is the same as only 2 here, but the amount of time spent here having to micro manage them like robots and clean up after their mistakes – things the execs overlook – does not really make it anymore cheaper.

      • FatLynn says:

        Thirded. We had to redo almost an entire project done by [redacted], one of the biggest tech companies in India.

    • Harrkev says:

      They are supposed to use Linux, so there will be no licensing costs. Of course, they will have to pay some people to set up the software distro for this thing, but since they are in India, skilled tech labor is cheap.

      I will believe the $35 when I see it. Every project that starts like this, *IF* it ships, the price is usually 2x to 3x that they promised. I see no reason this should be any different.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        I guess we should also remember One Laptop Per Child when talking about this. Remember that? The supposed $100 laptop aimed at developing nations to give children access to technology, computers and the internet? Seemed impressive, until you found out the price was twice that – and for a developing country that needs to buy thousands of them, that’s not cheap.

        As you say, I’ll believe it when I see it.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          It isn’t cheap… until you consider $200 is substantially less expensive than any other machine available, especially when subsidized further by developed nations.

          • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

            You mean by selling Americans those XO (OLPC) machines for $400, one for you and one for a developing child? Alas, I don’t think that made much of an impact. Good idea, yes, but at the end of the day, there weren’t too man of those OLPCs out there — though I do remember seeing one of them out in the wild, someone using one on the subway.

  6. SaraFimm says:

    I wonder what languages will be available for this device. If it comes in English, I’m sure the computer and software manufacturers in America will be up in arms about it. Decry it as junk or make them step up to the plate? We need to get our children to use small laptop/netbook computers for school–even if only for containing their school books as ebooks. How many of us Mothers, Fathers and new Grandparents remember backpacks full to bursting such that we have back problems today? Why do our kids use backpacks with wheels because they’re too heavy to carry?

    I can only approve of schools that now offer books as online books or ebooks for their students. It cuts the cost of the books, provides the educators with more variety to choose from since the books do not have to be printed and they cannot be bought secondhand at a discounted price–thus raising the cost of a new book, it lowers the amount of books necessary to carry around and store in an already cramped living space, the cost of the books could be included into the school tuition so there is no worry about “stealing” copies of the ebooks. The benefits for both parties far out weight the negatives.

    • Doubts42 says:

      I agree that netbooks/ e readers should become the standard rather than books. But that is due to the cost of having to reprint the books every other year so some professor somewhere can get a new royalty check. The whole back problems, and rolling backpack thing is manure. We have a whole generation so soft and obese that carrying school books is too hard for them. really??!?! Funny how all this started at the same time schools started removing PE requirements huh.

      • zandar says:

        well, something changed in our culture. It’s not just that all kids are fatties- they aren’t. I didn’t carry a backpack in high school. Few of my classmates did. rarely did I have to bring more than a couple textbooks and a spiral notebook home from school. I bought my first backpack when I went off to college.

        Now kids in grade school are required to bring backpacks, and my junior high school-aged son had me lift his back this past year- it was insanely heavy. They make the kids buy these enormous trapper keeper things- it’s REQUIRED- it’s not even books breaking these kids’ backs. Why do they require them? For the teachers’ convenience, this was the reason given to me by the school’s principal. I’m all for helping teachers- I’m not one of these silly people who think teachers are lazy and overpaid- but this particular thing really gets my goat.

        • dadelus says:

          Not sure when you where in HS, or what classes you took, but I graduated in 1995 and more often then not I had to take most of my books home. Because my classes had homework most nights.

          • coren says:

            Maybe our school was more affluent but at mine you got a book that was yours for the year and the class had a classroom set – so there were always books available.

      • FrugalFreak says:

        I for one, support the secondhand market for books. When you buy an ebook, it should be transferable to other owners too. Authors support the lockdown/more money way but frankly I don’t give a hoot.

      • mandy_Reeves says:

        I have severe lower back problems from my heavy nap sacks all through school…

      • Conformist138 says:

        Well, I wound up at a chiropractor when I was 12, so there’s that. And a lot of schools now don’t have locker access (security issue), so you get kids and teens carrying every book to every class. My spine aches just thinking about it. My best friend and I got creative and got ahold of a teacher’s code to the photocopier (private school, got away with murder) and reduced our books to 25% their original size. We couldn’t figure out why so much space was taken with extra-wide margins, large font, and unnecessary pictures and graphics. It kept us from heaving, seriously, up to 50lbs (Advanced Anatomy, AP American History, French II, Trigonometry, English, and Gov/Econ, each with 1 or more huge hardbound volumes; even our copies of classic literature were combined into one larger tome).

        • Capta76 says:

          I had a locker, so I only carried with me what I required for the next class. Although, the year I graduated (94) was the last year the students could use lockers. They’re still there, but permantly locked.

  7. RxDude says:

    They don’t even need to dial long distance for tech support.

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    A linux-based product costs dramatically less than a Windows or Apple-based product?

    Shocking!!

    • FatLynn says:

      I am having a really hard time finding a netbook with Linux on it, but this is the very reason I want it.

      • Hungry Dog says:

        Reason behind that is there are too many stupid people that don’t know what a linux is and return the netbook because they don’t know how to use it. I saw a bunch of returns because people did not see windows when it booted up and were to scared to use it.

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          When Asus introduced the eeePC in 2007, didn’t that have AMD chips and their custom Linux distro in there at first? Yes it did, until people wanting this cheap netbook looked at it in bewilderment as to how to use it. Because they’ve been conditioned by Microsoft and Intel to buy their hard/software. Hence Asus building eeePCs with Intel chips and Windows preinstalled (at a higher price, I may add–until the inevitable economies of scale cut the price to where it was when first introduced.) Of course now, netbooks are so 2008. Dear Leader Steve Jobs made it so with his $500+ iPad (with $100 worth of parts in it, and complete control over what you can do with it.) All the more reason to hate the Powers That Be in the technoworld, especially considering the latest quarterly earnings reports from Intel, Microsoft and Apple. All rolling in it.

      • OnePumpChump says:

        It’s easy to install by yourself. Easy Peasy supports most (all?) common netbook hardware out of the metaphorical box. Any Ubuntu-based distro should, too.

        The only problem I had was not noticing that my flash drive was formatted as NTFS. (Has to be FAT, if you’re creating your boot drive in Windows.)

  9. JonBoy470 says:

    Given this thing was designed (and will presumably be manufactured in) India. If the chips on board (CPU, graphics and so on) were also developed in-house, that’s more cost driven out of the system by avoiding purchase of parts from Intel or NVidia, and no royalties to ARM. The software is all Linux, so it’s free/open source, with no licensing fees.

    If you took a netbook, and replaced all the hardware/software in it that was developed or (gasp) manufactured in the developed world with home-grown equivalents, then achieved economy of scale by selling 10 zillion of them, you could get the cost from $300 down to $30 too.

  10. XTREME TOW says:

    Calm Down Mark, Calm Down!
    Here, breathe slowly into this paper bag, there you go, nice and easy.
    Don’t worry Mark,
    they’ll sign up for Facebook too.

  11. shaner55418 says:

    If my netbook crashes, will I have to call up some guy in Ohio named Steve, but is faking an Indian accent and goes by Rakesh?

  12. shaner55418 says:

    If my netbook crashes, will I have to call up some guy in Ohio named Steve, but is faking an Indian accent and goes by Rakesh?

  13. evilpete says:

    Cheaper then the OLPC !

  14. Kazbar says:

    Take that T.I. Graphing Calculator!

  15. Straspey says:

    Hmmm…a pc tablet from India that’s cheap & filling…

    Introducing the iCurry !!

  16. duxup says:

    I’d buy that for a dollar, or 35 of them.

  17. KhaiJB says:

    I’ll happily take one.
    PDF support? cheap? just what I wanted. if I drop a hammer or drill on it in the workshop (I want it for holding woodworking plans) it’s just a swear and go get a new one….

  18. Telekinesis123 says:

    It’s the generic version.

  19. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    They dissed the $100 notebook 5 years ago as too expensive and are working on this $35 version. By the time this becomes a reality, an entire generation or two, or maybe 3 or 4 of students will do without any notebook because of the arrogance. I can sell you a $10 notebook if you wait 20 more years.

  20. TasteyCat says:

    Still too expensive for half the population.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      Oh, it isn’t perfect, penetration isn’t complete, it won’t save the world and make me a sandwich, guess you’d better not even try.

  21. mandy_Reeves says:

    If india makes the computer, can they outsource tech support to America?

  22. mandy_Reeves says:

    It looks like one of those knock ipod touches from Chinatown.

  23. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    $35? Well, just remember you get what you pay for.

  24. vastrightwing says:

    My favorite quote was when the guy said, “we hope to get these down to about $25.” My question is when will he be happy? I think $99 is dirt cheap. I can’t believe they can sell these at retail for less than $50 and still make any money on them. So to make comment that we hope to make them for under $25 or something… WTF? I’d rather hear the guy say, “we hope to cut your taxes back 25% in the future by spending less on waste.” Now that I can get excited about.

  25. Atomsplitter says:

    The guys who build this device definitely get to eat something. An extra billion people online would be great. All are welcome. Steve Jobs is a proven ignoramus. Net books are neat if you like LCD screens. Alan Greenspan came on TV today to spread his good cheer about the recovery in the US economy – this guy is a fossil. Don’t listen to him. He is poison!