As demand continues to outstrip supply, and with the limited availability of iPads in developing countries continue to jack up retail prices all over the world, India steps up to offer a low-cost contender. Fully supported by the their national government, India’s prototype is estimated to cost only $35, a fraction of the iPad’s cost. Design decisions which trim down hardware costs as well as open source software can bring down the price to as low as $20.
Like its more expensive cousin, the tablet offers a number of features – it has word-processing and web browsing capabilities. In addition, it offers video-conferencing and an option to upgrade to use solar power.
Running on the Linux operating system, the open source software will help bring down costs. The Indian government hopes a manufacturer will come on board to realize the project which is geared towards students as an alternative educational tool to stave off higher textbook production costs.
Steve Job famously once dismissed notions of adding a netbook to its mobile compiting line, saying that it is not Apple’s thrust to make a cheap sub-notebook that will actually work. India, on the other hand, wants to prove that it’s possible. India’s cost cutting initiative is not new. In the past, India has managed to shock the world with its incredibly cheap cars and open heart surgeries. Only time will tell if this cheap-as-nails tablet will in fact come to fruition in the near future.