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India unveils a $35 tablet computer

MIND SOUPIndia's Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal unveiled on Thursday a prototype tablet computer which is expected to revolutionize the computer industry.

Indian minister holding the device. (Photo Credits: AFP)
Five years in development, this prototype was produced by a student project with a bill of material adding up to $47, a price that the minister wants to bring down to $35.

This device may have primitive features, but for a price like that, it promises to increase the competition on computer production between the major companies.

This prototype promises a Linux-based operating system with an internet browser, PDF reader, wi-fi, 2GB RAM, USB slots, video conferencing, Open Office (the free version of Microsoft's Office) and multimedia content viewers and interfaces.

However, this device does not include a hard disk or a storage system. Files will be stored on removable memory cards, just like mobile phones and digital camera.

"The solutions for tomorrow will emerge from India," the minister said while showing off the super-cheap touch-screen device in New Delhi.

One of the newly introduced features for tablets of the sort is a solar-power option which the minister said would "make it more feasible for rural areas." Yet, the price of these solar panels are not factored into the $35 promised retail price.

This device that quite resembles Apple's iPad would be available to consumers as early as next year. The ministry is aiming to drop the price as much as possible as research and development efforts continue to improve it and cut the costs.

Students from several branches of the Indian Institute of Technology co-designed the motherboards for this computer, and eventually aim to get its price as low as $10 on the long run.