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Old 10-05-2011, 11:53 AM   #1
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The $35 Tablet from India

Yes, the headline sounds like the start of a joke, but it's not. Here's an article over at the Wall Street Journal describing the tablet.

The gist is that it is an inexpensive tablet that initially will only be available to Indian graduate students. It actually cost around $50 to make, but the government is subsidizing some of the cost, and eventually they plan to release a public version of the tablet that will sell for around $70.
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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Its interesting that they are getting it from Datawind. Datawind was talking with me at CES about bringing something cheap with 3g cellular data included to the states but then they kinda dropped the idea of entering the US market. Im sure they got push back from the carriers.

Im glad to see they foudn another market for their business model

They make the "PocketSurfer" http://pocketsurfer.co.uk/

and the Ubisurfer line http://www.ubisurfer.com/html/tablet7.htm

which includes the Ubisurfer Netbook and the Ubislate 7 which is rebranded for the Indian market .
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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Hmm. I had a Ubisurfer netbook. It gave me my first insight into Unix, but was so short of memory and processing power that it was too slow to be usable. The low memory also made it very unstable. I gave up trying to create meaningful documents on it.

It was a cheap impulse purchase, a great size and actually quite well built for the £115, but ultimately not worth getting even at that price. It's made me pretty suspicious of Datawind. Still, let's see what the reviews say once the tablet gets out there.

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Old 10-05-2011, 05:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Daithi View Post
Yes, the headline sounds like the start of a joke, but it's not. Here's an article over at the Wall Street Journal describing the tablet.

The gist is that it is an inexpensive tablet that initially will only be available to Indian graduate students. It actually cost around $50 to make, but the government is subsidizing some of the cost, and eventually they plan to release a public version of the tablet that will sell for around $70.
You just "stole" my news, hahaha... kidding ...

I'm cautious about it. I've heard a lot about the other Indian tablets, the Notion Ink Adam? and that was a horrible debut. Lot of problems and unrealistic expectations.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:27 PM   #5
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I think the best response has already been said.

India’s $35 Android Tablet Actually $50, Still A Crummy Tablet

They go on to list all the specs at the site.

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Old 10-05-2011, 05:42 PM   #6
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Seems to follow a trend - the £1,000 ( I think now up to £2,000) car - I saw a review of one, and from that, it would not be my automatic choice for a 20mile+ ride on a motorway, and certainly not a more demanding route.
Neither would it be my preferred surroundings in a crash at 20mph+.

The home market is there for them, anyway, but fears have been expressed that as Indian traffic in or near cities is already at a standstill, and the roads among the most dangerous in the world, a relatively large influx of new vehicles and ineperienced drivers could prove a disaster rather than a liberation.
It may be seen as the Asian 2CV, but could cause more problems than it solves.

With the tech-gadgets, they are on firmer ground, but not yet up to the levels the West has become accustomed to, so again, primarily home-market consumption.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:04 PM   #7
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I think the best response has already been said.

India’s $35 Android Tablet Actually $50, Still A Crummy Tablet

They go on to list all the specs at the site.

=X=
That 'response' lacks perspective.

The tablet is aimed at under graduates, will be subsidised by the government, and the main use will be electronic textbooks, word and number processing and internet access for research.

It is not meant to be used as a primary entertainment device.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:41 PM   #8
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That tablet is better than nothing, and I'm guessing those are the two options many Indian students have.

Here in America we take our technology so much for granted, we lose perspective on what technological miracles by which we're surrounded. Our smart cellphones, our dedicated eBook readers--and yes, the Indian tablet under discussion--are all vastly more powerful than computers many of us ourselves owned 15-20 years ago, and smugly considered ourselves lucky to own at that.

I was in high school back in the '70's when digital calculators became consumer electronics. (Any one else trained in the proper use of a slide rule?) They were Serious Business. We couldn't have them with us while taking tests (my kids were advised to have programmable graphing calculators for their SAT's). Books were written about them (how do you do logarithmic math on a simple four-function calculator?). We even had cute little jokes where the punchline involved turning the calculator around and reading the upside-down number as a word (e.g. 710.77345). The only reason pocket calculators aren't a bigger deal is because of personal computers, the Internet, smart phones, PDA's, etc. etc. etc.

Did anybody see the Johnny Dep movie, The Tourist? I loved his line, "Attempted murder is not so serious when you compare it to murder, but it is quite serious when you compare it to room service." Well, I say to you: "That $35 tablet is not so neat when you compare it to an iPad, but it is amazing when you compare it to a spiral notebook and pencil."

I'm guessing one or two super global high-tech nerd genius billionaires in 2025 will have got their start off a simple $35 tablet.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:07 PM   #9
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That tablet is better than nothing, and I'm guessing those are the two options many Indian students have.

Here in America we take our technology so much for granted, we lose perspective on what technological miracles by which we're surrounded. Our smart cellphones, our dedicated eBook readers--and yes, the Indian tablet under discussion--are all vastly more powerful than computers many of us ourselves owned 15-20 years ago, and smugly considered ourselves lucky to own at that.
Of course, that really isn't an accurate description of America, either. We have a lot of poor people in this country that can't afford an iPad or even a $200 tablet.

Indeed, in America, poor (rural) people are pretty much the only demographic that it's still politically correct to make fun of.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:19 AM   #10
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Of course, that really isn't an accurate description of America, either. We have a lot of poor people in this country that can't afford an iPad or even a $200 tablet.

Indeed, in America, poor (rural) people are pretty much the only demographic that it's still politically correct to make fun of.
i'm not poor per se but i'm an american and i didn't have my own laptop until about 3 months ago, anything else was an ancient hand-me-down. even now its a $250 toshiba satellite that we bought with wedding money and a giftcard. anything better i'd need to win the lottery for. living paycheck to paycheck, electronics are bleeping expensive.

i could only imagine what a revelation these tablets would be to many people who have honestly probably never even seen a computer before. we do lose sight of the fact that there are people in the world who would give their arm for a moldering commodore 64 that youve got in your basement.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:24 AM   #11
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i'm not poor per se but i'm an american and i didn't have my own laptop until about 3 months ago, anything else was an ancient hand-me-down. even now its a $250 toshiba satellite that we bought with wedding money and a giftcard. anything better i'd need to win the lottery for. living paycheck to paycheck, electronics are bleeping expensive.
i could only imagine what a revelation these tablets would be to many people who have honestly probably never even seen a computer before. we do lose sight of the fact that there are people in the world who would give their arm for a moldering commodore 64 that youve got in your basement.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:22 AM   #12
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living paycheck to paycheck, electronics are bleeping expensive.
True!

Being an immigrant and coming from a poor country , I can tell that we, in USA, have lost perspective of how expensive electronics products are.

On most Latin countries, 200 dollars price tag is what most workers make on a full month of work.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:19 PM   #13
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:36 PM   #14
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@howyoudoin & cHex: Let me put it in perspective. Creating an underpowered unusable device for the under privileged is not a noble deed, it is a downright disservice. You both might feel lofty ans smug in your reply but you do it at the comfort of a decent machine while arguing that this tablet, which neither of you would be happy to use is good enough.

To quote the original article.
Quote:
He did say at first brush it was a little slow and the “resistive” touchscreen meant that he had to press quite hard at times. This could make fast-paced five-fingered typing a little difficult.
Going Android 2.2 on a 366MHz processor is good enough to do little and next to nothing. I've tried writing on my nook overclocked at 1Ghz and long document start to lag. They should have put more thought into the desing and use an OS that could work well with that processor.

Case in point. This is a program that I find fascinating and a real service the under privilege


Quote:
Game developer David Braben creates a USB stick PC for $25

...it looks like Ubuntu may be the distro it ships with. That means it will handle web browsing, run office applications, and give the user a fully functional computer...
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:44 PM   #15
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@howyoudoin & cHex: Let me put it in perspective. Creating an underpowered unusable device for the under privileged is not a noble deed, it is a downright disservice. You both might feel lofty ans smug in your reply but you do it at the comfort of a decent machine while arguing that this tablet, which neither of you would be happy to use is good enough.
I dunno about howyoudoin, but my observations were based on personal observations in India and living in Asia for 34 years, including 10 years in a provincial university town.

Quote:
Going Android 2.2 on a 366MHz processor is good enough to do little and next to nothing. I've tried writing on my nook overclocked at 1Ghz and long document start to lag. They should have put more thought into the desing and use an OS that could work well with that processor.
I agree. But the choice is not between the $35 tablet and one with a better-matched OS and processor; my thesis it is between the $35 tablet and nothing. I'm saying the tablet is better than nothing.

Running Windows 3.1 on my old 33 MHz 386 was in many ways more painful than running DOS 3 on the same computer was--but I still made the move (primarily to access better fonts and not having to have separate printer drivers for each application), and I was the envy of my team, most of whom were using typewriters at the time.

I imagine there will now be Indian students who will end up writing a better OS and application suite for the tablet, if they don't merely adapt some other existing OS.

Philosophically, I'd say don't provide any computer at all; instead, keep taxes low and let the people prosper without unnecessary burdens. But that doesn't blind me to the impact of putting technology into the hands of people that otherwise would only be able to access it at Internet cafes.
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