While the West recoils in shock at Amazon releasing a keyboardless netbook for under $200, in India there is a move to create them much cheaper.
This Christmas what is being billed at the world’s cheapest tablet will go on sale in India at $35.
As you might expect it is not something that ordinary consumers will get their paws on. It is aimed at students and is the result of a collaboration between the government and IIT Rajasthan.
According to the Economic Times, the tablet will be manufactured by Datawind, which is a UK-based outfit which makes something called the Pocketsurfer, a hand-held device to surf the web.
Apparently it costs about $70 to manufacture but the government is making up the shortfall. However, even at $70 it would still be a third of the cost of the Amazon tablet and nearly a fifth of the cost of something Applish. Though it will be basic compared to both of those models.
The tablet will run on Google’s Android platform, have wi-fi capability for internet access and cloud storage. It will have 256 MB of RAM, a 2GB SD memory card, a 32 GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.
Then again, we have heard lofty claims from Indian universities about offering very cheap hardware – though this one does look set to materialise.
With tablets like these available, it is fairly likely that the cost of the toys will drop. Amazon hopes to make up the difference in its tablet’s cost by offering content services and software.
Iberry, a Hong Kong-based tablet device manufacturer, is also planning to launch two tablets that are tipped to become cheapest of the chips.
This will start with a $140 7-inch model. It will be based on Android 2.3 and will be capable of handling up to 32 GB of expandable memory via Micro SD cards. The gadgets will go on sale from 10 October.
India is an unusual market for tablets. Apple’s iPad made its Indian debut in January 2011 and only managed to take six percent market share. The Galaxy Tab has 85 percent of the market. This might explain why Apple is so keen to stop its rival selling its goods elsewhere in the world.