High hopes and hard realities for India’s 35-dollar computer

NEW DELHI, December 9, 2010 (AFP) – The Indian government won headlines around the world when it unveiled a prototype 35-dollar tablet computer in July, but questions are now growing over whether the project is just a pipe dream. “The One Laptop per Child Association in the US was difficult to comprehend and there was scepticism then but it led to the low-cost Netbook laptops,” he said. “This is a journey which will evolve.” At the computer’s launch, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal vowed “the solutions for tomorrow will emerge from India” as he revealed the breathtaking price tag — a fraction of the 500-dollar cost for an Apple iPad.

Officials said the touchscreen device, aimed at the country’s millions of students, could even be hammered down to just 10 dollars once production rates increase.

The tablet computer, which has yet to be named, is billed as boasting a three-hour power back-up, Internet browser, media player, video-conferencing capability, good data storage, hard disk drive and webcam.

“The price includes a small component of profit for the manufacturer and hence higher volumes will fetch more returns,” Sibal told AFP.

“This low-cost device is likely to revolutionise the educa