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Education Technology

India Launches $35 Tablet 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the price-drop dept.
Many readers have submitted stories about a new $35 tablet computer released today in India. The Aakash (meaning sky) has been handed out to 500 students for an initial trial run, if successful a $60 commercial version will hit the shelves later this year. The Aakash computer runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), has a 7-inch touch screen, 256MB of RAM, 32GB expandable memory slot, two USB ports, and weighs in at only 350 grams.
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India Launches $35 Tablet

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  • by 0123456 (636235)

    So it's a $35 tablet that costs $60 then?

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Yes, much like the OLPC was a $100 dollar computer that cost $400 for an individual to purchase.

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @03:48PM (#37616530)

        The OLPC cost $400 because you were buying two devices. the second device was your donation through the Give One Get One program. It was the only way you could buy them.

        The reason the devices cost $200 each was because the OLPC suffered a bit of feature creep and bad pricing projections on components.

        The idea was that volume sales would bring pricing down more closely to the $100 level. I will mention that both Microsoft and Intel tried their best to derail the project*

        [*] - http://news.cnet.com/Negroponte-Windows-key-to-OLPC-philosophy/2100-1016_3-6215837.html [cnet.com]

    • "$60 commercial version" meaning it will probably have better hardware. Government giveaways are always cheaper than what the public can buy in both cost and quality.
    • by Chrontius (654879)
      Profit margin?
      • by eepok (545733)

        It's a beneficent project, subsidized by the government, for the sake of bringing digitally-assisted education to the masses. They're not concerned with profit margin. They care about being able to afford their goals.

  • For you/we Americans, 350 grams is a fraction under the weight of a 12 ounce can or pop/soda.

    (weird note: the can of Coke in front of me says caffeine content is 46mg/12 fl oz. Way to go and mix your units!)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by LMacG (118321)

      Fluid ounces measure volume not weight/mass.

      350 gms = 12.35 oz

      • As a child-post post points out, 1ml of pure water at 4C weighs 1g, and the weight of the bubbles, sugar, etc. are not of consequence since this is an approximation.

        355ml = approx 355 grams of fluid.

        Oh, I suppose we can add the weight of the can in there. Quick Googling gives it another 16 grams for an empty can. So: now we're up to ~371 grams.

        Still: it's an approximation to give someone the idea of what it really weighs. The other one I use is that a regular disposable water bottle is usually a fraction ov

        • by EdZ (755139)
          I've used the "1l of water = 1kg" trick to weight a turkey using a 4-pack of bottled water, a broom, a tape-measure, and a chair-back as a pivot. When we found the scales, the value was only about 100g out.
    • by julesh (229690)

      weird note: the can of Coke in front of me says caffeine content is 46mg/12 fl oz. Way to go and mix your units!

      So, how many grains of caffeine do you want to limit your consumption to in a day? Would it really help you to know that that can contains 0.7 grains of caffeine?

      Or, in other words, quantity of caffeine consumption is a medical measurement. Medical measurements are made in metric units; this is just the way it is, because doctors have preferred working in metric just-about since the system first became available. However, the concentration of caffeine is only useful if it is given in units that are easy

  • by MarkGriz (520778) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @02:19PM (#37615300)

    So, will they outsource their tech support to America?

  • Sounds like it will have a wholesale price in quantity of $35 then get marked up to $60 for retail which is about right considering the specs. If it actually appears at retail anywhere in the world around that price you know the thing is probably legit. If not, it is just a scam on the Indian govt. We have Solyndra so we can't laugh.

  • Seriously, tablets are about to go crazy selling. In addition, it appears that Linux is about to be EVERYWHERE.
    • by Tsingi (870990)

      ... it appears that Linux is about to be EVERYWHERE.

      Aside from phones and desktops, It already is everywhere. It runs the internet.

      • Aside from phones

        Hmm, Android and webOS?

      • by afabbro (33948)

        It runs the internet.

        That is a ridiculous statement. One could easily say that Cisco IOS runs the Internet. More IP packets pass through Cisco gear (running Cisco's proprietary O/S) than Linux kernels.

        Maybe you mean webservers...but "the Internet" != "the Web".

        • by Tsingi (870990)
          Yeah OK, there are switches and wires and telephone poles and underground cables and satellites. We were talking OS's and I meant servers.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        and all DVD player,s bluray player, all HDTV's etc... makes the windows fanbois cry at night....

        • by Tsingi (870990)
          My router runs Linux. Not the same version is shipped with, but it did ship with Linux installed.
    • Are you saying that 2012 will be "the year of Linux on the desktop", that I keep hearing so much about.
      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Its definitely year of linux on the phone and router, and it could be year of linux on the tablet. On the desktop? not so much.

  • The real purpose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @02:41PM (#37615596)

    Hi,
    I would like to provide a background for this. The tablets are an endevaour by the Indian Government to reach out to the farmers as a means of communication to advise them about crops and similar kind of work. It is NOT meant to compete on the market with other tablets for normal functionality. I guess, the most important function would be video streaming to show tutorial videos on how to handle crop and inject them with pesticides and such and may be stream other lectuers. To get a background on what kind of exercise is this and wonders its necessity, you might like to visit NPTEL where free lectures are made available by IIT faculty on various college courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate). Due to the population, it is very difficult to reach students and farmers individually so this is the type of "distance education".

    For example, in this age also audio lectures are transmitted over radio for anyone to listen by the Indira Gandhi Open University for people who want to study on their own but cannot attend a college as there is probably none in the region they can try to reach.

    As it may or may not be common knowledge, software patents per se, are not valid in India. You can patent your code, not your idea (which is pretty pointless). There are certain workarounds the legal system as usual is the case. But ideas and software algos are not patentable per se. So patent encumbered thing might not be a really big issue here. I don't know about resistive or capacitive touch screens though.

    How successful it is we all are sceptical (due to corruption and all the issues). But this is the main idea behind it. If it succeeds we would be very happy.

    • I'd hope the screen is resistive in this case - it's what you want for field use anyway, so that it can be used in working gloves, with dirty hands etc.

    • by Tsingi (870990)

      The tablets are an endevaour by the Indian Government to reach out to the farmers as a means of communication to advise them about crops and similar kind of work.

      I hope it's to tell them not to buy from Monsanto, and not the reverse.

    • by gregsim (876306) *

      The tablets are an endevaour by the Indian Government to reach out to the farmers as a means of communication to advise them about crops and similar kind of work.

      I don't understand how the farmers are going to receive this information since bandwidth is limited and expensive in India. I am working near the city of Vadodara in Gujarat. Where I stay at a 5 star hotel, the Internet costs $12 per day and sometimes the bandwidth sinks so low it is unusable. My iPhone 4 works great with 3G in the city, but just outside the city where I work, there is only EDGE connection and even if the connection is strong, the available Internet bandwidth is almost nonexistant. Is there

  • [ ] Crappy
    [ ] Really crappy
    [ ] "You've got to be kidding me!" crappy

    Even from TFA:

    "The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable," Rajat Agrawal of technology reviewers BGR India told Reuters news agency.

    "They don't have a very good touch screen, and they are usually very slow."

    You can already get really cheap chinese android tablets on EBay, and they're almost usable. Except for the touchscreens on them. At this price point, you can't get adequate enough quality for real use

    • You can already get really cheap chinese android tablets on EBay, and they're almost usable. Except for the touchscreens on them. At this price point, you can't get adequate enough quality for real use.

      What you and I would consider usable, and what someone who might have to save up for months to get one of these would consider usable are to very, very different things.

    • by afabbro (33948)

      You can already get really cheap chinese android tablets on EBay, and they're almost usable.

      And some at Walgreen's (Walgreen's? Yes, Walgreen's) that are not [arstechnica.com].

  • There's been plenty of discussion about the tablet over the last year and a half. Much conjecture about whether it would happen ( http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/india-35-tablet/ [wired.com] ). But what struck me most when all the jabber started was the enthusiasm of one minister: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10740817 [bbc.co.uk] .

  • This has roughly the same extremely mediocre specs as most of the cheap Chinese tablets. I wonder if this company will comply with the GPL, in contrast to the vast majority of Chinese vendors who either hold the kernel sources ransom (after giving you a binary) or refuse to release them at all.

  • I would pay $35 for an alarm clock with an adjustable face, on which I can check my email, and that I can use to write myself quick notes or check a web page. I'd probably buy five of them to put all over the house.
  • ...time now, just check this out:

    Since the Indian model are planned to be sold commercially for 60 bucks, with those poor specs...check out these android pads for 79 bucks:
    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/7-touch-screen-lcd-google-android-2-2-tablet-pc-w-wifi-camera-tf-arm-v5-349-79mhz-70053 [dealextreme.com]

    I've seen the same tablet, sold for 59$ when they have specials, so it's certainly possible. And this one is feature ladden.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      do they have one with a 600 MHz CPU for $100? that would be real news. I look at tablets on there occasionally but have yet to be motivated.

  • The $2K car [indiancarsbikes.in] wa not too reliable.
  • unfortunately you can only move the cursor at right angles, and if you shake it then the black and white screen goes blank
  • Kind of like the towel in Hitchhiker's.

  • I recently bought a cell phone accessory through ebay for 50 cents, no shipping charge. The material arrived safely in a padded envelope from Hongkong. Leave alone the postage or the cost of the material, the nice envelope itself will cost more than 50 cents in the United States. So it is no wonder Indians can make a tablet for $35. I am sure eventually we might be able to buy them for $35 and free shipping from India.
  • My 4 dollar tablet will be released soon!!!!!

    * Retail version will sell for $5495.99, but as the first "Real" $4.00 tablet you should order a lot of them.

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