India's $35 Tablet- The Everything Killer

On July 22 a $35 (or 1500 INR) hand-held Linux computing device was unveiled by Shri Kapil Sibal, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development of India. The goal of the project is to lower the price to around $20 in time and eventually reaching the amazing price of $10.

In a tablet form-factor and using an unspecified variant of Linux (that some have said might be Android), the cost should remain low while offering a wide range of functionality. The Sakshat descendant is said to be capable of supporting video conferencing, viewing a wide selection of video and image files, word processing, de/compressing files, printing with CUPS, full Internet browsing with Javascript and Flash, wireless communications, and remote device management.

The device is under heavy development and is not currently available through retail channels. In fact, its purpose is to provide low-cost capabilities to schools and universities in the tradition of OLPC. It will be able to help students access and complete many online and video-based courses. It was reported that nearly 500 courses have been uploaded to YouTube, sakshat, and National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning portals and about 8500 colleges have already been connected. In fact, college students and professors helped research and develop the device. Several global manufacturers have expressed interest in mass-producing the device, but no deals have been finalized as of yet even though plans have the devices in students' hands by the end of the year.

The technical specification details were sparse mainly due to continuing development, but sources say replacement parts and upgrades should be fairly standard. What we do know is that it will have at least a 7-inch color touch screen (judging from the photos), 2 GB of storage, WiFi, Ethernet, 2 watts of power consumption (going by earlier incarnations), a solar-power option, and a custom scaled-down version of Linux. Further speculation has it powered by an ARM-based controller and including a low-power webcam. Reports have indicated that several variations may eventually become available with different options and configurations.

There's a long path between prototype and retail packaging, but excitement is high. There is no question of the value to India's college students, especially with rumored government subsidies in discussion. But if this device could be shipped world-wide to the general public it could likely become stiff competition to the OLPC, smart phones, netbooks, and the various new tablets announced lately. In fact, at that price it could very well become an Everything-killer!


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of


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Its all fake n a publicity

Kumar Rajpal's picture

Its all fake n a publicity stunt ... i bet u there nothing going to be there like that...

Great @_@ ~!!

POPper's picture

It's geart , and sound very utilizalbe for all ages, especially for kids in third world countries,unaffordable ones,
And , hope it, ;; ll be a great revolutionary changes over nowadays runnin' companies, I think, :-)

Is it Android based?

Zman's picture

Is it Android based?

yes according toDIGIT mag

Ben's picture

yes according toDIGIT mag

it will be released in first

Anonymous's picture

it will be released in first season of the 2011

I love t he Innovation

Charles E. Campbell, Founder & CEO AHEC's picture

This device is a game changer. It removes greed as the motivating factor. When the US Government uses stimulus money to invest in private companies, this is seen as good for the economy. Inida has a growing population and this device at $35 or $10 Dollars will drive innovation even more. President Obama and American Corporations such as Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and HP better wake up and take note.

Charles E. Campbell, Founder & CEO
Allen Hydro Energy Corporation (AHEC)
Innovating For Hydroelectricity For The World

where's the dmesg?

Anonymous's picture

where's the dmesg?

Price points

belcherman's picture

That $35 price is the government-subsidized price in a not-for-profit business model. Once you factor in marketing + distribution + support + profit, I think 99/usd would be a more realistic price point as a commercial product. Even at that price point, I think it could have a lot of potential, but it would also be competing with cheap Chinese netbook knock-offs. It all depends on execution, and quality.

Slave Labour?

Anonymous's picture

At $35 (or less) this must raise the question of "how much is the workforce paid per hour" to produce this item. Perhaps the case badge should read "Powered by Linux, Built by slaves..."

This is definitely not slave

Balaji's picture

This is definitely not slave labour.

India is very much a country that respects and abides by the broader labor laws of the world.

There is a difference between over working and slave labour. India is definitely not a case point for slave labour.

slave labor

Anonymous's picture

You have to remember on other sites it states that the plan is eventually build in INDIA, they have a much lower cost of living with the normal annual income there is considered poverty level here. Once it is available retail in US I definitely plan on getting at least one probably two or more. that is as long as it is linux compatible.

you suck, coward

Indian's picture

you know what, you all suck bragging about what you could do and can do.
India is fucking half of the world with it's IT power and infra., and you still think you can kick really suck.


khopdi's picture

I don't think its possible for $35 (or $20, $10 claimed eventual price).
The cost of materials and assembly itself would be well over $100. India doesn't have a reputation of delivering on innovation. The electronics industry there is virtually absent which would be needed to acquire electronics at cheap prices for this project. Now, its a different story if the actual cost is $150 but govt subsidizes. But that's flawed economics and there is no real innovation in that case.

oh yes they can

Silvans's picture

It is possible, i tell you...
have you heard of Tata Nano?
India it changes the thinking of the WHOLE WORLD with these cheap things... and it's good :D

Reality and Hype!

Anonymous's picture

Hello Great Innovator! Yes its 50% subsidized and its "Reality" how so ever it has been done. I feel only your country doing real innovation all by itself. Great!

I want that one , right

Anonymous's picture

I want that one , right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

social compromize

crlsgms's picture

very nice indeed this hardware, mostly because its focused on schools and children use. Needless to say that the cost is kinda dreamy, but even if its below $100 usd that device is on its way to social development and a huge milestone in breaking the digital divide.

cheers for the indians, hope it gets soon over the bureaucracy and corruption so we can use on brazilian schools.


Phillip Gibb's picture

could not get to that price without cutting a lot of corners.
personally I think that they should have aimed at $99
using more than half the price to make it look good and desirable


Anonymous's picture

If its running Linux then why on that second screen shot can I see what looks like a Windows XP start button? FAKE?

Look up Linspire....same kind

Anonymous's picture

Look up Linspire....same kind of setup as windows


Anonymous's picture

well just zoomed into the pic
and the start button isnt the usual rounded start button

it about time something like this comes out worldwide
possibly even with advertisements, or incentives which would support it being sold at a loss to students

maybe add some sort of data plan 3g (if it was to be taking home)

"Start" button

David Lane's picture

It sure does look like a Windows button, but there are several distros of Linux that have been skinned to have similar buttons to Windows without the magic symbols, which this does seem to be missing...

That being said, I am not buying into the hype. As pointed out, the economics for the parts alone don't support it. The cost of mass production would tip it in around $100.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack


Anonymous's picture

hey came across this in a site...

According to the site ARMDevices, it looks like the $35 tablet is based off the design originally postulated by AllGo Embedded Systems. This company is actually established in Bangalore, India, and they showcased their very own $35 tablet at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando last month. The video you’ll see below is that tablet. So, how does that tablet break down in price? Something like this:

1. ARM9 processor: $5
2. Memory: $3
3. WiFi b/g: $4
4. Other components: $3
5. Battery: $5
6. 7-inch 800×480 resistive touchscreen: $15
7. Total: $35

what do u think????

India has developed at least

Anonymous's picture

India has developed at least two tablets for 35$ . The one what the minister has mentioned is powered by solar power,boasts of a web browser, multimedia player, PDF reader, Wi-Fi, and video conferencing ability and a built in word processor and run on Linux. This is developed by a combined effort of indian institutes of technology.
So these are two different products.

Yeah - I can't see how a

Chad's picture

Yeah - I can't see how a usable 7" screen tablet could be made for this.

Picture frames and MP3 players are available at that price already, but without large enough screens or memory to run Linux and a web browser. *Perhaps* if 7" screens could be made cheap enough and they cram it down into <16-32MB, it could be done...

what the ...

Anonymous's picture

What part of "It's under active development" you have not understanding? :-P

Does this tablet have

dsenecalb's picture

Does this tablet have capabilities like keyboard on the screen or even a electronic pencil to write at the screen?
It does it have any speaker included? USB port? In few words, does it have more features than iPad? Terminal to work with it?
If so, it is worthy to buy. Because with linux everything is possible

It has some usb

manasij7479's picture

It has some usb ports...|combined with the linux terminal..and a few drivers for the usb hardware...everything is really possible...but little students may not have the technical knowledge to work around every obstacle using the terminal..


OwlBoy's picture


India's computer

LadyG's picture

I don't believe it, not at that price. They would go broke at those prices. If it is true, where can I buy one?

India's computer

LadyG's picture

I don't believe it. Too Much! Tell where I can get one?

Not even ninjas............

Anonymous's picture

Not even ninjas............ stand a chance...


Adam Wilhite's picture

Very exciting if true.

Just more BS...

Anonymous's picture

This type of news comes around every once in a while, but the economics won't hold up, even at scale. This is nothing more than "sell at a loss, make it up in volume."

Subsidize through retail?

lefty.crupps's picture

If this was sold in the US and other countries to consumers at a price point of $50, that right there would help to subsidize the costs for the Indian students. Granted, the US etc may not buy the millions of devices needed to subsidize the millions of Indian students, but it would be a good start.

The US is going to lag behind further and further in tech and tech literacy if other countries keep coming up with this good stuff, while we have Dell pushing only Windows (again) and phones that aren't rootable.

Here in England

Anonymous's picture

What do our government do ?

Sack folk.

Try to raise an education tax on graduates.

Spend £300,000,000 + on giving away a few laptops to the poor.

An spend the rest of their time working on new ways to get their hands on expenses.Five years of debate and they still haven't worked it out fully yet.

Well done boys.


Here in England

Anonymous's picture

What do our government do ?

Sack folk.

Try to raise an education tax on graduates.

Spend £300,000,000 + on giving away a few laptops to the poor.

An spend the rest of their time working on new ways to get their hands on expenses.Five years of debate and they still haven't worked it out fully yet.

Well done boys.


given the price, i suspect

turn_self_off's picture

given the price, i suspect its a 2-gen old or more ARM. And why the 7" screen? Is it to much to want a 4-5" screen, like the early nokia tablet?

btw, this is not the first time india is supposedly making a cheap portable computer. Anyone remember the simputer?

a $35 linux computer???

Anonymous's picture

I would love to compare the device dicussed with my 20x more expensive HP laptop. I am ready!


jimmie lee wright's picture

oh my goodness , is it for real , linux need to enter the gaming industry quick , also , please send me info on how i can buy this device NOW !!!!

Did you read the article?

richqw's picture

Did you read the article?


Anonymous's picture

where can i get the specs?

Specs, Specs?

Anonymous's picture

You won't -- because if you learned what the cost of goods of their current device was, you'd realize that they'll never get to their intended price point, or anything that's competitive. This is just marketing BS...

I bet you would even call the

shiva's picture

I bet you would even call the $2000 car TATA Nano is also BS....Just because you pay some ridiculously high price on a product in your country, everything has to be that way for the rest of the world.

For example, I recently read that the iPhone bumper Apple was selling costs them $1, and they were selling it for $29. Hope you get the point!! Or just be happy calling everything you don't understand as BS...

Actually, I understand what

Anonymous's picture

Actually, I understand what parts cost, even at volume, and the cost of custom silicon. Even at scale, it doesn't work, but keep on believing. What have you got against the U.S.?

Give us component prices if you really know

Anonymous's picture

Could you please tell us? If you have some expertise, please share it. I would love to hear from experts, and see real data, eg. the prices provided above in a post. I guess somebody on their team would have spent weeks trying to come up with the cheapest prices for reasonable components, so i'm wondering, if you are not on the project, or on the project of a competitor, how would you know?

What I have got against the

shiva's picture

What I have got against the US? Nothing! but you answered your own question by asking it.


Michael Reed's picture

I hope that the business model isn't the same as that of the OLPC. When the first OLPCs were starting to ship, first world customers were lining up to buy one. Eventually, there was some weird deal in which people in the US could buy two, one for a person in the third world. The deal was for a limited period and I don't think that it extended to other countries.

Not to worry, commercial companies soon swooped in to take over the new market for such machines. I ask you, what would have been the harm if loads of geeks had ended up with an OLPC to hack around on?

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

I WANT ONE!!! Enough said.

Anonymous's picture

I WANT ONE!!! Enough said.