By the end of this month, Indian developer HCL will be launching a tablet computer named ‘Sakshat’ that cost as little as $35.
The tablet, according to sources, is the result of a project undertaken by the Indian Institute of Science that saw lead developers try to come up with a way to provide cost efficient computers to educational institutions across the country. After 6 months of negotiations with the government, half of the costs to manufacture the tablets will be subsidized by the state, paving the way for the widespread distribution of these tablets by the end of the month.
The initial batch will see 10 000 tablets sent to educational institutes and other research centers within the next few weeks. Following this, a second batch of close to 90 000 tablets will be distributed over several months.
The tablets will sport a 7 inch touch screen, with built in touch keyboards. They will have 32gb hard drives and 2gb of ram, as well as Wi-Fi and other standard tablet features.
Keeping the costs low is the fact that the tablet was built using Linux and other open source software. Including on the tablet will be Oracle’s Open Office software and the ability to install other free software from leading developers.
The tablets are not currently planned for a retail release, as part of a clause for the government subsidies. However, it seems highly likely that these tablets will be able to act as stepping stone for future cost efficient tablets that may see wider release. Recently in the United States, cost efficient tablets have begun to hit the market, but not quite on the same caliber as these tablets.