Indian Government Unveils $35 Tablet Prototype

Submitted by lalit on July 23, 2010 - 12:41pm.

Indian Union Minister for human resource development today unveiled a low cost computing-cum-access device. The price of the device exhibited today is expected to be around $35 per unit and the government plans to gradually bring down the price to $20 and ultimately to $10 a piece. The Indian union minister says that since this effort of continuous reduction in price and enhancement in capabilities would require a constant endeavor for R&D, IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Rajasthan and some other IITs and technical institutions are setting up research teams to cover a wide range of issues in achieving the ultimate goal in terms of price and quality. Minimum functionalities expected for the tablet are:

  • Support for video web Conferencing facility
  • Multimedia content viewer for example .pdf, docx, .ods, adp, .doc, .xls, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .odt, .zip, AVCHD, AVI, AC3, etc
  • Searchable PDF reader
  • Unzip tool for unzipping zip files
  • Possibility of installing suitable firmware upgrades
  • Computing capabilities such as Open Office, SciLab, cups (for printing support)
  • Media player capable of playing streamed as well as stored media files
  • Internet browsing with flash plug-in, JavaScript, PDF plug-in java
  • Wireless communication for Audio/video I/O
  • Cloud computing option
  • Remote device management capability
  • Multimedia input output interface option (for allowing DTV, IPTv, DTH, streaming etc)

The ministry started its efforts by holding discussions on this concept with group of professors/experts at IISc Bangalore and IITs. B. Tech and M. Tech students were guided to produce the motherboard for such low cost devices with ample flexibility to change components. One motherboard design was generated under ministry’s guide in the B. Tech project of a student at VIT, Vellore. The cost of bill of material for the device worked to $47 and the motherboard was fabricate by IIT Kanpur. All the teams are currently working on bring down the price and meeting all the requirements before the device ships next year.