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July 23, 2010

$35 for an iPad? No wait, its not an iPad

TECHNOLOGY - It looks like an iPad but at $35 it is a fraction of the cost. The new touchscreen tablet being built in India is aimed at students and is going into mass production in 2011.

The new touchscreen uses Linux and can be used for word processing, web browsing and video conferencing. Like the $2,100 Nano car and other cheap items from India its certain to be a hot item for people on a budget.

You can even get it with solar power, which is considered important in parts of India where electricity isn't easy to come by.

“This is our answer to MIT’s $100 computer,” says Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal. In 2005 MIT unveiled a prototype of a laptop designed for children in 3rd world countries that would cost a mere $100 to manufacture and make it easier to teach students in such locations. The One Laptop Per Child charity program subsidized the cost of the laptop by selling models in North America with a marked up price.

Sibal hopes to bring the price of his tablet down to $10 eventually, but for now he's shopping for a manufacturer who can mass produce the prototype.

Key to all this is falling hardware prices and smart designs that make this all possible. Sibal's tablet doesn't use a hard disk which costs more, but instead uses a removable memory card just like a cell phone which saves a lot on hardware costs. Plus Linux is an open-source software, so there's no cost there either.

India plans to sell the tablets to high school and university students, subsidizing them to bring the price down to $20. India also has an ambitious plan to bring broadband connectivity to 25,000 colleges and 504 universities... with such a huge market the mass production will have to be in the hundreds of millions.

And if it comes over here it will force Apple to lower their prices and stop gouging consumers $500 to $700 for an iPad. Because come on, you can get a laptop for that much and laptops still have way more to offer. The only thing iPad has is the "Nyah nyah, I got one and you don't!" factor.

See Also: Touchscreen is the Future

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