$35 Indian Tablet? Not Really

No, it’s not going to be on sale for $35.00.

The Guardian reports that the Indian Ministry of Education has announced a “laptop” for students at a cost of $35 dollars. There is short demonstration video at the link.

The $35 refers to the cost of the components, not to a price point, a detail that a lot of news sites seem to have overlooked. The story quotes India’s human resource development minister, Kapil Sibal, as saying:

“We have reached a [developmental] stage that today, the motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35, including memory, display, everything,” he told a news conference in New Delhi.

The Guardian story includes no speculation as to the final retail cost. Indeed, as this is a project of the Ministry of Education designed for students, there may well be no plans to make it commercially available.

None of the stories I could find mentioned anything concrete about retail sales. I searched India.gov and could not find a press release or other announcement, but, like most government websites, it’s huge and I may have given up too soon.

From the description, the device sounds less like a and more like a stripped-down with a custom software load designed for students, including browsers, PDF readers, and video-conferencing capabilities, plus limited some ability to accommodate new software installation. It’s Linux-based, so software license fees are not an issue. According to Wired, an XP Windows license could add $50.00 to the production cost.

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