Thursday 29 September 2011

Are you ready for the $35 tablet?

Remember last year we talked about the $35 (Rs. 1,700) tablet that had everyone asking, "How so cheap?", "When will it come out?" and "How long will one unit even last?". After all the speculation fizzled out, the news is that HRD minister, Kapil Sibal made the announcement that the tablet will be made available to school students on the 5th of October, 2011. The minister wants to improve tech resources for education in the country and plans on organizing workshops for teachers for tech implementation. On a somewhat unrelated note, Sibal also plans on making online bill payment universal. And in playing with the recent PR value the word "corruption" has had, Sibal also made a comment that IT can be used to get rid of corruption.

This tablet is meant for students as an education aid and apparently already has a name, but no details have been divulged yet. The specs of the tablet are just guesses now. Looking at pictures of the device, popular guesstimates of screen sizes include 5-inch, 7-inch and 9-inch. It will have features that students will need such as PDF readers, internet browsers, video chatting ability (so the tablet should have a camera), media player, remote device management capability, and multimedia input-output options. Sibal said last year that in order for the tablet to actually sell for $35, one million devices will initially be distributed. The $35 price tag is also after the government has subsidized 50 percent of the cost of the tablet.

All those features for $35 and yet no one's called this tablet an iPad killer. Yes, it is meant for education, but on paper it has similar capabilities for the average consumer as an iPad does for less than one tenth of the price. We will have to wait and see on the 5th of October, 2011.

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