The $35 tablet (perfect for MRU)

Do you want a tablet but don’t have enough money to buy one of those high-end tablets available in the market today?  Here’s some good news for you.  There’s a new $35 tablet, the catch is, you can only get it in India.

The new Aakash UbiSlate 7Ci comes equipped with WiFi so you can connect to the internet but if you’re living in India, you can avail of the $64 upgrade and have yourself a cellular Internet package of $2/month for 2 GB of data which translates to roughly 25 emails, 25 websites, 2 minutes of streaming video, and 15 minutes of voice chat a day.  It also features voice search, so it might help pacify your need for something similar to Apple’s Siri.

It features a 7.5-inch display, a front facing VGA camera, and a Cortex A8, 1Ghz Processor.  According to reports, it’s as fast as an iPhone, so it can’t be too bad.  It runs Android but the version hasn’t been specified yet.

The cheap tablet is part of the Indian government’s move to technologically mobilize the country.  The first batch of the affordable tablets will hit universities around India sometime this month and via a “special offer”, DataWind, the carrier and maker of the tablet, will offer broadband for a monthly cost of US$1.78.  And for those living in remote areas where electricity is sparse, they can get a solar charger for the Aakash UbiSlate 7Ci.

Here is more, and for the pointer I thank Mark Thorson.


I prefer a lack of what the UN calls "open defecation" to the wide availabilty of tablets. Priorities, people!

that's right, but if you educate the general public, sooner or later it you reach a point where it will be unacceptable for a group of people not to build their own composting toilet. remember, you clean up graffiti to prevent crime, tipping point, etc.

Well, at least it's not a hand-loom.

Excellent. The primary difference between primitive societies and advanced ones is human capital and scientific knowledge. Just look at what the USSR was capable of -despite- their awful civic, political and economic institutions.

Plus there's always a great benefit of simply informing people that things can be better than the circumstances they find themselves in.

Exactly. It is not the price of the tablet but who gets to use it that matters. At $35, it pretty much covers everyone who makes $5 a day and that includes everyone who is not a day laborer. So, people like housemaids, drivers, carpenters, cobblers, etc who belong to the huge unorganized sector and typically don't have access to credit will be able to buy one without going into debt. There are about 120 million internet users in India (with a population of 1.2 billion). If Aakash distribution works as expected and wifi becomes more ubiquitous, this will just blow the numbers. There is a reason why Google has subsidized Android by making it free.

How many seconds does the battery last?

An iPhone seems pretty vague. An iPhone 1 or an iPhone 5? Reviews for existing cheap tablets that use the Cortex A8, 1Ghz processor on ICS complain that the tablet is slow and laggy. Just because the headline of the new iPhone processor is a 1 GHz processor doesn't mean that all processors with wildly different architectures are the same.

This. The Cortex A8 is a half-decent CPU core (suitable for a cheap Android phone, sure), but it's several years old and would never ever compete with an iPhone 4S, much less 5.

According to Wiki the table is actually being sold at a discount to Indian students for $50 and that half the cost is being covered by the Indian government. I'm not sure it that means the actual cost is $100 and a student pays $50, or if the actual cost is $50 and the student pays $25-35.

It appears that the pre-order price is 2,999 rupees which is roughly $56. Whether this is a good deal or not probably depends on how much software will eventually run on it. And how well it integrates in with the existing technology in India.

I thought there was a Montreal based company who'd priced out this sort of thing in the $25 range for production, but I'm not sure it's the same one that's hitting the market right now. It was also an Indian government deal. So, I wonder if this sort of price range could become even sustainable for these sorts of products not too long down the road.

Subsidies are not necessary in this case, tablet prices are falling dramatically. There are already functional $50-$70 android tablets being produced in China, often times with free shipping. Volume discounts bring that number to $40 or less. The purveyors of cheap cell phones in the Indian countryside will soon dispense tablets without government assistance.

Yes, but will anybody in the Indian government get a kick back on those?

I am totally agree with your thoughts. Keep doing these type of work.

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