Still skeptical that India is going to be able to follow through on plans to deliver a $35 tablet? So am I. But that didn’t stop Indian Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal from going on the Gadget Guru show to discuss the project. And he promises that in 2011, the Indian government will put 1 million of these cheap tablets into the hands of students.

To be fair, what he’s claiming is that the government can place an order for 1 million tablets priced at $35 each. That’s not the resale price. That’s the wholesale price. Right now there are no plans to sell these tablets directly to consumers. It also seems to imply that a smaller organization or company that placed an order for say, 10,000 units probably wouldn’t get that kind of ridiculously low price.

So maybe the $35 price tag is kind of plausible. The Gadget Guru experts also point out that while the tablet works reasonably well running Google Android, the resistive touchscreen wasn’t all that responsive. Again, I’m more inclined to believe a product like this is real when I discover that it has some flaws.

Still, it has a SIM card slot and it’s said to have 3G as well as WiFi capabilities. And I still can’t help but feel like an Android tablet with a 7 inch touchscreen, 3G and WiFi might be a bit much to expect for $35 — even when you order a million units. After all, the thing still needs storage space, memory, and a processor. It may or may not also have a front-facing camera.

You can check out the video after the break. The good stuff starts about 2 minutes, 30 seconds in.

via Engadget

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10 replies on “Indian government promises to deliver 1 million $35 tablets next year”

  1. Well. Trying is no harm. Instead of discouraging, one can encourage the makers and the developers with lot of hope. When China can sell IPad rival at 1/5th cost of IPad, we can also try. Instead of giving these tablets only students at cost or subsidized price, these can be sold to public also at higher price to subsidize the price to students as is being done for OLPC scheme. By doing this, volume can be increased and hence reduce the cost also. NGOs can also come forward to market these tablets to the public at higher price and arrange to distribute tablets to the students at lower price. Let India be the first in this low cost tablet project. Wireless Broadband service should be made available to all these tablets either at no cost or atleast very low cost. This way these tablets could be made to use the cloud computing operating system like Chrome OS. This will definitely reduce the cost of using these tablets. Any other novel method could be used to make this project a grand success.

  2. The west’s technology edge is not receding, it is evaporating exponentially.And morons in the west who do not realize the world techo-power shift would be forced to beg for Indian visas. Britain would be an Indian client state in 10-15 years.

  3. It could be possible – as suggested – that the $35 price could be achieved with government subsidies. It would be – IMO – like a Thrift Store selling items at a low price so they are more appreciated than if they gave it away.

  4. I think that the government subsidizes the price and pays for the device themselves and the customer gets it at a low cost.

    This is a good start to make the nation advanced in computer technologies.

  5. Remember a few little details and the $35 is a bit more plausible. If you are using a single chip solution it will have WiFi and Cellular built in. The difference in pricing is almost entirely patent royalties. Same for most of the other features, a big chunk of thier price is going to pay off patent holders unrelated to the physical cost of the product. Who is buying these? Who issues those patent monopolies?

    If they are playing that sort of game, even if they are just leaning hard on the rights holders to take a haircut ‘for the children’ then yes I believe they will have no problem hitting a $35/unit target in quantity 1M. But they won’t leave India.

    It really isn’t that big a discount though. I’d bet good money those Augen tablets everyone is talking about would go for $50 or less at the docks in China if you bought a few containers of the exact same config, brought your own boat and a briefcase full of folding green FRNs.

  6. While not yours, the comment about the “responsiveness” of the touchscreen is idiotic given the purpose and cost of this device. I might as well stand outside and ridicule everybody who fails to accelerate their cars from 0-60MPH in under 4 seconds as they drive to the grocery store while yapping away on their cell phones. Much in the same way it’s OK to have a dopey little car if it just cost you a few thousand dollars and you just use it to amble through traffic, it’s OK to have to press your screen firmly and meaningfully if the device is extremely cheap and meant for learning rather than escapism.

    1. Eh… not if it means you won’t actually use the device. I’ll be honest, I’ve used bad touchscreens before — and a bad, unresponsive touchscreen cane make using a tablet kind of a pain in the neck. If it feels like a chore to do something as simple as enter a URL, let alone write a document, you’re just not going to use the tablet very much — no matter how cheap it is.

      1. All true, but I’d be shocked if any of that mattered in this context. For an educational deployment, the hardware is nearly inconsequential. The curriculum is what matters, and I doubt there’s going to be a lot of data entry as part of it. I don’t believe that this will be used as much more than a glorified e-book reader, and I’m sure that most relevant URLs will be supplied as per-configured bookmarks. Having lived in and traveled through India, I’m familiar with the saying “everything becomes a hassle”. Having to press extra hard with a stick on this lousy resistive touchscreen will be treated as a privilege rather than a burden for many of this device’s recipients, especially since they won’t even have any preconceived notion or experience about what a “good” touchscreen is “supposed” to be. However, having lived in India, I doubt that this this device will ever actually be produced and distributed. It seems like a political exercise and government corruption will swallow it whole.

      2. Dear Mr Brad Linder you have used a touch screen devices / tablets but look at that school going boy, the poor man who has never seen such a device earlier he can now afford it, thanks to the initiative of the Indian Govt. Learn to appreciate initiative.

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