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India Launches $35 Tablet

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the price-drop dept.

Education 203

Many readers have submitted stories about a new $35 tablet computer released today in India. The Aakash (meaning sky) has been handed out to 500 students for an initial trial run, if successful a $60 commercial version will hit the shelves later this year. The Aakash computer runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), has a 7-inch touch screen, 256MB of RAM, 32GB expandable memory slot, two USB ports, and weighs in at only 350 grams.

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203 comments

Take that Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615088)

Your Kindle Fire is now overpriced by $150.

Re:Take that Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615656)

Sure it is. This junker has a 375 MHz processor and a resistive touch screen (meaning stylus). It is much slower than my phone. It gets 3 hours of battery life. It is a toy, and not a very good one.

Jokes on them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615106)

A 7in version of my Samsung Transform phone. Jokes on them.

Re:Jokes on them (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615156)

Yeah, just like the iPad is 7inch iPhone.

Re:Jokes on them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615224)

Ipad is 10in, IIRC.

Re:Jokes on them (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615512)

And it can't make calls.

Re:Jokes on them (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615782)

Only if you're lazy. I thought this was a geek site?

Re:Jokes on them (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615826)

Somebody hooked up a GSM modem to an iPad? I'll admit, that's pretty damn l33t. Got a source?

Re:Jokes on them (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615864)

Lazy and a strawman argument! Is there anything you can't do?

Re:Jokes on them (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615968)

I know you're talking about some kind of VoIP system (SIP, IAX, and a variety of proprietary system can all work on an iPad). But they're not practical as a cell phone replacement outside of North America and some places in Europe. I really wish they were, but they aren't, and region-specific solutions aren't really solutions.

Re:Jokes on them (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616070)

Force someone to recognize that the Ipad is a giant Ipod Touch, not a giant Iphone?

Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615112)

What? They're going to make a profit? WTF? I thought this was teh Android!?!?!?!?!?! Where is free? Where is the spirit of open sores???

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615844)

apple fanboi butthurt?

Re:Fail (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615986)

It's $35 after government subsidy. It's been a government research program to close the tech gap between the rich and the not-so-rich.

Cool (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615122)

So it's a $35 tablet that costs $60 then?

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615192)

Yeah, just like how the "$99 computer" in the movie of the same name was built using military-grade components that could have easily cost thousands of dollars each. But the fact that they found one such part lying on a shelf meant that they didn't have to factor it into their costs at all - they could just keep magically finding hologram projectors tucked away on some dusty shelf and say it's a $99 computer, despite the fact that buying new components to build it in any respectable quantity would mean paying many thousands of dollars for it. But I digress. Yes, good catch.

Re:Cool (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615228)

Yes, much like the OLPC was a $100 dollar computer that cost $400 for an individual to purchase.

Re:Cool (2)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615380)

Yes, much like the OLPC was a $100 dollar computer that cost $400 for an individual to purchase.

Yes, but you got two of them for that price, evenm though you only got to keep one.

So, it was a $100 computer that cost $200 that cost $400.

Re:Cool (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615244)

"$60 commercial version" meaning it will probably have better hardware. Government giveaways are always cheaper than what the public can buy in both cost and quality.

Re:Cool (0, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616032)

Government giveaways are always cheaper than what the public can buy in both cost and quality.

Medicare is a hell of a lot better than what a 67 year old man with colon cancer can buy on the "open market".

And Social Security is a hell of a lot better than the private pensions available to a 58 year-old grocery store clerk. Or a 58 year old programmer, for that matter.

So no, government "giveaways" are not always cheaper (in terms of quality) than what the public can buy. However, they are usually "cheaper" in terms of actual cost.

The administrative costs of a private pension is usually around 12-18%. Social Security's administrative costs are about 2.5 - 3%. Private health insurance administrative costs are anywhere from 15-60% (and that's before you add in the profits). Medicare's administrative costs are less than 3% (unless you read the right-wing "think tank" websites, where you will learn that Medicare's administrative costs are a million gazillion percent higher than the altruistic health insurance companies).

My wife, who is a skydiver who used to belong to the national skydiving team of a formerly socialist eastern european country, has often told me how the gear that the US military "gives" its members is almost always superior to anything you can buy in the store. She was jumping in Hawaii once with a bunch of US military and one of the guys on the US team gave her his standard issue backpack. She's still got it and the quality of construction and design beats anything I've seen available commercially.

Now that we've cleared up your misconception about "government giveaways", we should work on your misunderstanding regarding your usage of the term "giveaway". Learn the difference between getting something for free and having the costs shared by society as a whole.

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

BriggsBU (1138021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616332)

Look at the state of Medicare and Social Security, though. They are operating at a horrible loss and probably won't even exist in their current form in the next 20 years. People constantly tout Medicare and Social Security as the model for how things should be done, but they are only surviving due to the influx of money from a generation that will likely never gain any benefit from them.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615294)

The article says the $35 tablet is subsidised. I guess the $60 commercial version will not be subsidised.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615320)

Also, they probably want to actually make a profit on the commercial version. I read on The Register that they cost something like $38 to make.

Re:Cool (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615408)

The commercial version is almost certainly subsidized too, but obviously not as much. It says the government plans on purchasing 100,000. So since they aren't even manufacturing them in bulk yet, the real-world price isn't even known. However for them to have set an exact price for both shows that the government is willing to kick in to some extent to meet a specific price point.

As the article more tactfully states, these things might be unusable junk. They probably use the cheaper (and less patent incumbered) resistive touch screens, and obviously they won't be including the best in battery technology either.

Also, the slashdot story contains more information than the linked article provides. Wonder what the source of those hard numbers is?

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615386)

Even then, that is pretty damn good considering the specs., $35 or $60.
Wonder how well (or bad) it performs.

Re:Cool (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615618)

What specs? The linked article has less info on that than the summary (where'd the summary get that info?).
I'd agree that $35 for a 7" touchscreen that does anything is pretty good, and maybe it is worth $60, but I can't find any specs to support that.

Re:Cool (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616024)

From the wiki:

Operating system Android 2.2
Power Internal rechargeable non-removable lithium-polymer battery

CPU 366 Mhz processor ;on chip Graphics accelerator and HD Video processor

Storage capacity 2GB (Internal)Flash memory, expandable upto 32 GBmicroSD

Memory 256 MB LP-DDR2/DDR2

Display 7-inch ; 800x480 reolution

Input Multi-touch resistive touchscreen display, headset controls

Connectivity Wi-Fi connectivity ;GPRS

Re:Cool (1)

Chrontius (654879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615446)

Profit margin?

Re:Cool (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616088)

It's a beneficent project, subsidized by the government, for the sake of bringing digitally-assisted education to the masses. They're not concerned with profit margin. They care about being able to afford their goals.

Useful gadget! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615126)

They can use it to watch the Chinese launch the space station in between calls from frustrated Americans who need helping working their computers.

Re:Useful gadget! (-1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615514)

+1 Funny.

Re:Useful gadget! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615616)

What's more retarded: a country desperately imitating what happened decades ago that will produce absolutely nothing, or a country in which everyone has a phone and can call anyone for anything?

Re:Useful gadget! (2)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615798)

What's more retarded than either, is an idiotic slashdotter sitting in his mom's basement, gorging on big mac and diet coke, typing stuff which he doesn't know shit about.

Use some brains - the reason this is being produced is not to "desperately imitate what happened decades ago". It is to provide millions of poor students an opportunity to buy their own tablet/computing device.

Re:Useful gadget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615816)

I'm not sure. Which one was the USA again?

Re:Useful gadget! (1)

mark_elf (2009518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616276)

I got lost too :(

Re:Useful gadget! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615918)

Imitating is fine and does in fact produce lots. It's what students spend years doing - replicating work that has already been done. Or do you think that each computer science student is forging new ground in finite automata and that physics students are developing the mathematics needed for relativity?

There's a huge difference between knowing that something can be done and knowing how to do it. There's a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. If you want to build on it and make advances replicating what has already been done is the best first step. It's how you build up the know how and experience - with the huge advantage that you actually know it is possible.

Take that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615222)

Apple sucks. Long live to India and China. \o/

Re:Take that (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615362)

I don't know about "Long live China" as most of the stuff they make falls apart. We'll see about India.

Royalties?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615234)

How much are the software royalties worth? Sounds like the hardware is free!

Will go nowhere (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615270)

Like OLPC it will go nowhere since they want to gouge the users who could actually develop softweare for it.

Re:Will go nowhere (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615526)

You can do better than that, keep trying.

Real life measure of 350 grams (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615272)

For you/we Americans, 350 grams is a fraction under the weight of a 12 ounce can or pop/soda.

(weird note: the can of Coke in front of me says caffeine content is 46mg/12 fl oz. Way to go and mix your units!)

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (1, Informative)

LMacG (118321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615344)

Fluid ounces measure volume not weight/mass.

350 gms = 12.35 oz

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (1)

OddThinking (1078509) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615378)

I believe he was referring to mixing metric and imperial units, not mass vs. volume.

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (1)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615528)

I believe I can fly

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616254)

I believe I'd like to see you try. Actually I'd like to film you trying and upload it to Youtube.

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615532)

He was indicating that the weight is about equal to another product that people might be familiar with... to wit a can of pop that happens to come in 12 fl oz cans. He WAS NOT equating the weight to a volume.

I guess reading comprehension is a a problem with Americans along with using antiquated measurement standards.

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615586)

1 g of water = 1 mL of water.

granted, while the sugar water that is soda is slightly more dense than just water, it's still a fair enough comparison.

12 oz (volume) can of soda ~= 340 ml ~= 340 g (mass) of soda.

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616212)

As a child-post post points out, 1ml of pure water at 4C weighs 1g, and the weight of the bubbles, sugar, etc. are not of consequence since this is an approximation.

355ml = approx 355 grams of fluid.

Oh, I suppose we can add the weight of the can in there. Quick Googling gives it another 16 grams for an empty can. So: now we're up to ~371 grams.

Still: it's an approximation to give someone the idea of what it really weighs. The other one I use is that a regular disposable water bottle is usually a fraction over a pound when full. So: American pound is a water bottle. True: many are half-liter so it's more like 1.1 pounds, but that's the whole idea of these real-life comparisons: so we don't run around saying things like "it weighs exactly as much as a 12 ounce regulation can of diet Coke with 3/4 of an ounce having already been drunk out of it."

Re:Real life measure of 350 grams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615364)

For you/we Americans, 350 grams is a fraction under the weight of a 12 ounce can or pop/soda.

(weird note: the can of Coke in front of me says caffeine content is 46mg/12 fl oz. Way to go and mix your units!)

That is weird. Mine says it too. Coke Zero: 34mg/12 fl oz. However, here in the US, drugs and nutritional facts use metric measurements. So, the mix of units makes sense from the way of saying 34mg per Unit (Units measured in 12 fl oz.). Now, it would be weird if it where 2.83mg/fl oz., that would be a dick move.

Tech Support (4, Funny)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615300)

So, will they outsource their tech support to America?

Re:Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615430)

So, will they outsource their tech support to America?

Sure Sir/Ma'am. Provided you learn at least one of the many Indian languages and talk fluently in it without revealing your native accent.

Re:Tech Support (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615750)

I wish Indian support could speak English without revealing their native accent.

Re:Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615784)

Well... They tried. How about you pardner?

Re:Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615882)

you tell me ... Ahem...

backwards F 9 lightning deer!

Re:Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616082)

Not a chance... No one can speak the english like the English do. Not even the bastards born to them in a distant continent.

Re:Tech Support (1)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615852)

They tried, and they can't - tough luck.

So you'll probably need to learn to understand (and speak) "Indian accent"

Re:Tech Support (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615544)

Hi there pardner, name's, uh, Ranjeep, now wut can I do ya fer with that there tablet thingy?

Re:Tech Support (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615766)

No, they will never outsource to America. They need to find a market that has trainable workers in.

The retail launch is the proof of legitimacy (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615360)

Sounds like it will have a wholesale price in quantity of $35 then get marked up to $60 for retail which is about right considering the specs. If it actually appears at retail anywhere in the world around that price you know the thing is probably legit. If not, it is just a scam on the Indian govt. We have Solyndra so we can't laugh.

Re:The retail launch is the proof of legitimacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615920)

Why is everyone picking on Solyndra? If you want to talk about scams on the government, I'm all for it -- but picking one as minor as Solyndra is just pandering.

Re:The retail launch is the proof of legitimacy (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616054)

Becasue Solyndra is a perfect poster child for USian FAIL.

Looks like a propaganda stunt. (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615396)

Look, it is not like some private company made this and is planning for a huge release soon. Some government ministry got some 500 samples made and it is optimistically hoping the design could be manufactured for 35$. If it were really possible, the Chinese factories would have turned out millions of them already.

Re:Looks like a propaganda stunt. (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615662)

It is real- it is currently being made. It is being made by a real company- a western company in an eastern factory. It really is currently being sold for $50 in India to the gov.

Whether the price will drop to $35- who knows- they're talking about selling it for $60 in the US (almost double the $35 price-tag) - but that is still HUGE news.

This will do for the tablet what the assembly line did for cars. It's not just for the rich and the upper middle class anymore. The working man can afford one too- and so can his dog.

Re:Looks like a propaganda stunt. (5, Informative)

zentigger (203922) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615792)

Chinese factories turn out stuff like this all the time. I have traveled to the South Pacific and you can get a basic smart phone for $20--made in china. They won't sell in the western world for that because they can sell the same piece of junk for $120, or "bundle" it for $20 with a term contract. In most countires in Africa where average household expenditure is less than $300, cell phones are prolific--this certainly is not because people are spending a years worth of wages to buy a phone. Companies will charge what the market will bear.

Re:Looks like a propaganda stunt. (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616076)

They don't sell in the west because those phones are poorly designed pieces of crap that don't work properly, have terribly battery life, and break after a couple of months of gentle use.

tablet market is going to go crazy. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615406)

Seriously, tablets are about to go crazy selling. In addition, it appears that Linux is about to be EVERYWHERE.

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615602)

... it appears that Linux is about to be EVERYWHERE.

Aside from phones and desktops, It already is everywhere. It runs the internet.

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615952)

Aside from phones

Hmm, Android and webOS?

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615980)

It runs the internet.

That is a ridiculous statement. One could easily say that Cisco IOS runs the Internet. More IP packets pass through Cisco gear (running Cisco's proprietary O/S) than Linux kernels.

Maybe you mean webservers...but "the Internet" != "the Web".

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615632)

Are you saying that 2012 will be "the year of Linux on the desktop", that I keep hearing so much about.

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615746)

Its definitely year of linux on the phone and router, and it could be year of linux on the tablet. On the desktop? not so much.

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616268)

My tablet, phone, and router are on my desktop, you insensitive clod!

Re:tablet market is going to go crazy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615726)

Seriously, tablets are about to go crazy selling. In addition, it appears that Linux is about to be EVERYWHERE.

With a bunch on proprietary software on top...

Great price untill... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615426)

Apple decides to file a patent suit claiming "the corners are round."

Re:Great price untill... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615560)

Hey don't give 'em any ideas.

Tablet makers should give everything crazy bladed corners like the tech in Metalocalypse as a fuck-you to Apple.

Re:Great price untill... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615614)

I would TOTALLY buy a DethPad

Re:Great price untill... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615672)

To follow the tradition of the DethPhone, it should also have spikes around the screen that stab you in the wrist every time you use it.

Re:Great price untill... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615938)

Well, Apple can try, India wont give fuck.

Developing nations have not sold everything to the big corps and lawyers (yet), unlike the first wold countries.

A containerload of cheap Chinese 7" tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615490)

$35/unit is probably about par for the course.

Remaindered tablets pretty close in price (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615566)

There's a local remaindering shop which has the Pandigital tablets for $79.99.

The real purpose (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615596)

Hi,
I would like to provide a background for this. The tablets are an endevaour by the Indian Government to reach out to the farmers as a means of communication to advise them about crops and similar kind of work. It is NOT meant to compete on the market with other tablets for normal functionality. I guess, the most important function would be video streaming to show tutorial videos on how to handle crop and inject them with pesticides and such and may be stream other lectuers. To get a background on what kind of exercise is this and wonders its necessity, you might like to visit NPTEL where free lectures are made available by IIT faculty on various college courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate). Due to the population, it is very difficult to reach students and farmers individually so this is the type of "distance education".

For example, in this age also audio lectures are transmitted over radio for anyone to listen by the Indira Gandhi Open University for people who want to study on their own but cannot attend a college as there is probably none in the region they can try to reach.

As it may or may not be common knowledge, software patents per se, are not valid in India. You can patent your code, not your idea (which is pretty pointless). There are certain workarounds the legal system as usual is the case. But ideas and software algos are not patentable per se. So patent encumbered thing might not be a really big issue here. I don't know about resistive or capacitive touch screens though.

How successful it is we all are sceptical (due to corruption and all the issues). But this is the main idea behind it. If it succeeds we would be very happy.

For that price... (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615628)

For that price $60 ($35 definately) this could be revolutionary.

You're hitting a price that anyone for whom this would be beneficial can afford it. Any office worker could send the doc they've been working on and take it to a meeting. Any foreman can take it out to show a worker without worrying about someone's hammer mis-swinging and smashing the screen (can be replaced).

Places where you wouldn't want to risk an expensive tablet getting damaged- you can risk one of these.

Currently most people unless they are rich, technophiles, or show-offs don't have a tablet. At this price the trend will reverse. EVERYONE will have a tablet. You don't need to be a tech-lover, rich, or snobby.

Those who can afford the expensive Kindle Fire- and the iPad will still do so- because they are much better- but now there is a tablet for everyone... and the world will doth rejoice- because now everybody can be cool.

Re:For that price... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615970)

You know what would be revolutionary? People learning to spell "definitely".

Re:For that price... (2)

iroll (717924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616016)

Or, nobody will use it because it's junk. Have you ever noticed how everybody in the world is getting cell phones that are cheap--practically disposable, even--and yet perfectly functional? Can you tell me how many of these phones were the product of some kind of design-a-phone-for-poor-people initiatives?

I'll hazard a guess that the answer is zero.

What happened with cell phones was that the price and quality of commodity parts finally hit a sweet spot where everybody could afford a phone that they actually wanted.

Nobody tried (succesfully, anyways) to cobble together the cheapest junk possible into a barely useable "poor folks' phone." The idea of using a massive government purchase to drive down the commodity price sounds good in theory, but didn't work for the OLPC, and won't work for yet another Indian tablet-for-the-masses, because nobody wants the product that they're trying to make.

What will bring tablet computing to the masses--assuming the masses find any value in them--are the true commodity tablets that are starting to emerge from China, that are taking advantage of the price declines from the mass production of Kindles and iPads.

Re:For that price... (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616184)

I agree, at that price it looks like tablets could get as commonplace in real life as they were in Star Trek.

What kind of touchscreen? (1)

grnbrg (140964) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615754)

[ ] Crappy
[ ] Really crappy
[ ] "You've got to be kidding me!" crappy

Even from TFA:

"The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable," Rajat Agrawal of technology reviewers BGR India told Reuters news agency.

"They don't have a very good touch screen, and they are usually very slow."

You can already get really cheap chinese android tablets on EBay, and they're almost usable. Except for the touchscreens on them. At this price point, you can't get adequate enough quality for real use.

Re:What kind of touchscreen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615934)

> you can't get adequate enough quality for real use.

You can. They are not as pleasurable to use. So they may not be good as luxury devices for US customers.
But for a person who cannot afford a computer otherwise and has only narrow utility in mind (educational videos, reading documents), the issues won't be noticeable because he/she has not been spoilt by capacitance screens yet. The way you put it, every PDA before the iPhone was not "adequate quality for real use".

Re:What kind of touchscreen? (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615994)

You can already get really cheap chinese android tablets on EBay, and they're almost usable. Except for the touchscreens on them. At this price point, you can't get adequate enough quality for real use.

What you and I would consider usable, and what someone who might have to save up for months to get one of these would consider usable are to very, very different things.

Re:What kind of touchscreen? (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616036)

You can already get really cheap chinese android tablets on EBay, and they're almost usable.

And some at Walgreen's (Walgreen's? Yes, Walgreen's) that are not [arstechnica.com] .

Good. Build up passive media consumption there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615760)

That's all tablet "computers" are good for. Passive media consumption and limited communication.
Almost no creation of content, and certainly _NO_ creation of capability (I.E. programming).

Here comes a huge marketing demographic...

Re:Good. Build up passive media consumption there. (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615872)

I dunno, I wrote my TUG 2003 paper on a pen computer running Windows:

http://www.tug.org/TUGboat/tb24-2/tb77adams.pdf [tug.org]

And I program scripts, and HyperCard-like things using it as well:

http://mysite.verizon.net/william_franklin_adams/portfolio/interfaceconcepts/proportionbar.zip [verizon.net]
http://mysite.verizon.net/william_franklin_adams/portfolio/interfaceconcepts/proportionbar.app.sit [verizon.net]

And it's very useful for drawing --- I draw up plans for woodworking projects among other things:

http://www.3riversarchery.com/images/Contest2010/WilliamAdamsTakeDownCase.jpg [3riversarchery.com]

It helps of course, that I'm using a full-fledged Tablet PC (to be specific a Fujitsu Stylistic 4121 w/ daylight viewable display --- I also use it as a map viewer when travelling).

William

think about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37615866)

In India they give their kids computers in school. In the US we give our kids condoms and clean needles.

Usability (1)

TreeInMyCube (1789238) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615944)

When I heard the BBC story this morning, the interviewee (in India) was worried that the tablet was so under-spec'ed to be unusable. How much speed and memory do you need to run a passable e-reader? If they can use it for basic math, science, and language instruction textbooks, it will be a win. If they can run the arithmetic learning app that I've seen on the iPad2 commercials -- where the kids use their fingers to write the answers to addition/subtraction programs -- it will be a win. The logistics of supplying hundreds of millions of textbooks to all the various schools must be a nightmare. If each student can bring his/her tablet to school, they can download the books they need. And not the old, fraying books from 1985, either.

Re:Usability (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616142)

Touchscreens that aren't totally worthless cost money. Not only do you have to have enough pixels to display text with modest clarity (not that hard these days), but you need a digitizer that isn't a nightmare to use.

There's a reason your signature always comes out so crappy on those supermarket signature pads. It's not because you can't write (well, maybe), but it's because the touchscreen is cheaply made and poorly calibrated. There's basically no chance of making your signature legible on one of those without serious practice in getting around the limitations of the device. Students are going to be frustrated at trying to interact with a device that has such poor input as well. They'll probably be largely ignored or used for passive slideshow type applications (Full Motion Video being probably too much for them).

Excellent! Can't wait to get one! (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37615954)

There's been plenty of discussion about the tablet over the last year and a half. Much conjecture about whether it would happen ( http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/india-35-tablet/ [wired.com] ). But what struck me most when all the jabber started was the enthusiasm of one minister: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10740817 [bbc.co.uk] .

GPL Compliance (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616098)

This has roughly the same extremely mediocre specs as most of the cheap Chinese tablets. I wonder if this company will comply with the GPL, in contrast to the vast majority of Chinese vendors who either hold the kernel sources ransom (after giving you a binary) or refuse to release them at all.

4fp Dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37616130)

Theo de Raadt, onE Lay down paper

hmmm (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616222)

with an $60 commercial pricetag, it's not even cheap anymore, as you can get an even better one (better specs) for around the same price if you shop a bit around..

Good News (1)

ckmajor (671798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37616310)

This might be an insignificant piece of shit compared to iPad, Galaxy Tab or Kindle for folks living in rich countries in North America,Europe and parts of Asia. But imagine what this could mean to billions living in the third world countries in Africa, Asia and South America . Some what crappy, yet an affordable tablet running Android 2.2.... Something better than nothing.
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