India Unveils $35 Solar-Powered Tablet PC

Dennis Faas's picture

The Indian government late last week unveiled a concept tablet computer set to sell for a mere 1,500 rupees, or about $35 USD. Shockingly, the price could drop even further for a device that features touchscreen capabilities and solar power options.

The super-cheap tablet was first unveiled to the global media last Thursday by Kapil Sibal, India's Minister for Human Resource Development. The target audience for the device: the rapidly-developing country's student population, including those in less affluent rural communities.

Students Help Design Super-Efficient, Super-Cheap Tablet

The tablet is navigated by an iPad-inspired touchscreen that can be powered by solar energy.

Under the hood, it features a Linux-based operating system, 2GB of RAM (more, by the way, than most netbooks), and software that includes a web browser, media player, and PDF (portable document format) reader. It also boasts WiFi capabilities and USB ports, though it's said at this time that no hard disk is planned, meaning storage will have to be via cloud or portable alternatives like thumb sticks. (Source:

It's said students from India's Institute of Technology were responsible for designing much of the tablet.

Still Just a Prototype

With all the positive news surrounding the device, it's uncertain when or if the device will ever make it to the wider population. "This is just a prototype," said Zubin Malhotra, an education expert. "We need to find people who will be able to manufacture these devices at these price points and continue to develop them going forward."

Thankfully, the price could drop even further. Indian officials say the device could be available for as little as $20 or even $10 by the time it's ready to ship. (Source:

The idea has tech pundits thrilled. PC World's Tony Bradley recently called it "the future of computing." Why? Because a toss-away tablet would keep production costs down while helping workers generate data with minimal downtime.

"What businesses need is a simple, cheap device that uses a secure cloud connection to keep data where it belongs and keep workers up and working without the down time of expensive, failure-prone hardware," Bradley said.

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