India's $35 Tablet: Real, Cheap, Runs Android

Nikhil Pradhan 12 Aug 2010

After the much discussed announcement, and let’s not forget the immediate denouncements, it seems the Indian HRD Ministry’s $35 (Rs. 1,500 approx.) touchscreen tablet is very much alive.

The HRD Minister Kapil Sibal showed up with the device on NDTV’s Gadget Guru show last night. The Minister appeared to be confident of meeting the timetable of having a million units available by 2011 and more importantly, of being able to provide the tablets at $35 per unit to educational institutions. However, Sibal also clarified that the $35 price-point is because of subsidies to schools/colleges and the retail price would be higher.

The hosts of the TV show seemed to be suitably impressed by the device but I had a feeling most of it was because it didn’t turn out to be a figment of someone’s imagination. As one of the hosts put it, (paraphrasing him) “The biggest plus point is that the device exists.” They were also surprised by the fact that the tablet ran the Android OS rather than basic Linux. Other specs revealed were a front-facing web camera, 2GB of RAM, 3G and Wi-Fi support, a display that looks to be about 6-7 inches, 2 USB ports, and slots for microSD and SIM cards.

The touch interface appears to be slightly sluggish and accuracy is not 100%. Interestingly, a stylus was always in use in the video but until we get a proper hands-on video, it won’t be wise to comment on the resistive touchscreen and its performance.

Even if the proposed price increases by 100%, a touchscreen tablet at the 3K mark is a delectable proposition indeed. You can watch the NDTV Gadget Guru video below (the tablet segment starts at the 2:30 mark).