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An Impressive Computer at $35

In an NDTV Video, Kapil Sibal talks about the gadget that’s doing the rounds of the gadget world. This, sir, could be a game changer.

 

Impressive.

  • A $35 end cost – not BOM – meaning it can be priced at Rs. 1700, for a million units ordered. That means it can come down further.
  • This goes to all universities and then to their students with a further subsidy of Rs. 750 per unit. In 2011.
  • Open source OS, Video support, internet access/WiFi, SIM card slot, a USB out and a Video out. 2 watts, 2GB Solid State Disk,  This is bloody incredible.
  • The device goes preloaded with educational videos, on top of an open source software built by an IIT.
  • Sibal says “This is a vehicle for knowledge”. He wants to bring the cost down to $10.

While the government hasn’t done a great job in the past – the big example everyone quotes is the Simputer – you have to be optimistic. It takes just one big success to wipe out failures – operational or otherwise – of the past. I’m quite looking forward to seeing something like this – at the sub Rs. 2,000 price point.

Update:

At Slashdot:

When we talk about a $35 tablet computer, "average price" is not even remotely in the picture. It makes no sense for you to compare averages when we’re talking about something extreme.

Don’t like ebay? Palm IIIx runs for about $25 at Goodwill. $20 on Craigslist. And $15 at Weirdstuff(and places like it). But I don’t know why you don’t like ebay, there are a couple IIIx in good shape for $7 on there right now.

Here’s a $75 Palm m500 [amazon.com] on the same site you linked. Prefer color and WinCE? Dell Axim x51 runs for about $60 these days, which is coincidentally roughly what it would cost wholesale to produce with the same specs.

I have some idea what this stuff costs from working on the Kindle and other products, especially given that I actively tried to put together a minimalist low-cost tablet/ereader project. It is quite possible to get to a $35 BOM on a tablet computer, but I it won’t be a very modern style tablet. sub-500MHz ARM9, no 3D acceleration, 128MB or less RAM, slow flash interface, poor battery life, not multi-touch, and the list goes on. I think with the right software it could be a practical gadget for the right purposes. But most people scoffed at me when I have proposed these kinds of minimalist devices at the places I’ve worked.

Also from there, a link to a currently selling device that has similar features, and wholesales at $73. I know it sounds zany but the target audience doesn’t need the fantastic-est touch screen response, 3D acceleration or the best battery around.