India to launch $35 Android tablet in January 2011

The Indian government is to launch its $35 Android tablet in January 2011, surprising naysayers and making it the most accessible tablet computer on the market, which will in turn bump Android sales even higher in comparison with the iPad.

When India announced that it was working on building a super cheap portable computer, some people scoffed at the idea. Even the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) scheme has currently only managed a $200 laptop and is working on a $100 tablet with semiconductor firm Marvell, which suggested that a dirt cheap alternative to the iPad was not really possible.

But it looks like they’re going to have to bite their tongues. In late July the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal, unveiled an Android tablet that would cost in the region of $35, shocking skeptics and inviting the commendation of OLPC, which said the tablet would help with “eliminating poverty, saving the environment and creating world peace.”

We don’t know about world peace, but it will certainly help your bank balance and allow a much larger audience access to new technology.

At the time of the initial announcement the Indian government had not yet found a manufacturer, leading some to fear that the estimated price was idle fancy. Now, however, it has teamed up with HCL Technologies, a date is set and the price is as it was first advertised, with the possibility of it being lowered to as little as $10 if competition allows.

An Android tablet for $35 sounds too good to be true as is, let alone a $10 one. It just goes to show how much we are probably being overcharged for technology.

Of course, the new tablet, which has received the name Sakshat (meaning something along the lines of “epitome”), will not be quite up to scratch to its more expensive cousins, but it still packs a punch for the price.

Three models are planned, with touchscreens of 5 inches, 7 inches, and 9 inches. They will have full WiFi, a USB port, and 2GB of onboard storage, which is pretty reasonable for the price. Full internet browsing, with the ability to play Youtube videos, is also promised.

Over 8,500 colleges have already expressed interest in the tablet and we’re not surprised, as it could become an essential device within the education sector – cheaper than buying a single textbook in some cases.

It may have seemed too good to be true, but come January we’ll hopefully see the tablets flogged far and wide.