India Creates The $35 Laptop

India has just introduced the world to the $35 tablet laptop

Blending together two unheard-of concepts in the technology world: solar power and super affordability, India has just designed a prototype for a laptop that will cost the public only $35. Called the “Sakshat,” it was developed by top talent from India's Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science. A manufacturer is currently being sought by Its creator, Kapil Sibal.

Though still just a prototype, it is still a huge success over the U.S.’s similar attempt, the “$100 dollar laptop” project, which consistently soared well past $100 and even $200. Indian engineers were able to attain such a low price through reduced hardware costs and the use of free software such as Linux and cloud-based apps.

Including the trendy touch-screen technology of recent tablet PCs like the iPad, the laptop also uses solar power options to extend battery life. While it's true that a few sacrifices were made in the way of storage space (it is reported that there will be no internal storage – data will have to be stored on cloud apps, memory cards or other similar portable devices), the intent was never to create a laptop that could rival today’s newest machines. Instead, the laptop is a fusion of netbook and a palm-held tablet to bring information from around the world to its ultimate target market: low-income students. “This is part of the national initiative to take forward inclusive education,” declares Sibal.

Currently sitting at a buying price of a criminal 1,500 rupees ($35 USD), the tablet laptop will likely fall even lower in price once it hits markets, hopefully in 2011. The Indian government hopes to drive prices down to $20, and eventually to an unbelievable $10. For the mere pocket change it will cost, India’s solar-powered tablet PC has some surprising features which make it a very workable computer, including:

  • Linux operating system
  • 2Gb of RAM
  • USB port
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
  • PDF reader
  • Multimedia player
  • Video conferencing
  • Web browser
  • Word processor

In a country plagued with illiteracy and poor education systems, the Indian government wants to bring an affordable PC to students in the developing world. They are willing to subsidize any purchases of the solar laptops by students, and also provide internet access to even its most remote colleges to promote learning.