The Real (?) Story Behind The $35 Indian Tablet


The tablet made by the Indian government has seen lots of headlines lately.  It's a $35 tablet when subsidized for educational institutions.  Supposedly, it is fast and powerful and really not so bad.  The Indian government claimed that it was designed as a collaborative effort between the government and several higher-ed institutions.

The one on the left is the tablet shown off by the Indian government, on the right is the Hivision Speedpad

It looks pretty good.  Except that it looks just like Hivision's Speedpad or PWS700HA that was shown at CeBIT earlier this year.  It looks as though the Indian government is showing off a Chinese-designed and manufactured device as their own.  Or maybe Hivision is copying the Indian government (pretty unlikely).  The government had stated this about the tablet's design:


The ministry started its efforts , subsequent to lukewarm response from known corporates in this sector, by holding discussions on this concept with a group of Professors / experts at IISc, Bangalore, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay. B.Tech and M.Tech students were guided to produce the mother board for such low cost devices with ample flexibility to change components. One mother board design was generated under Ministry's guidance in the B.Tech project of a student at VIT, Vellore. The cost of bill of material worked to 47 $ at that point of time. The PCB of the mother board was got fabricated at IIT Kanpur. It could be seen that by customising the device to the needs of learners across the country, and utilizing the processor capabilities of processors suitable for the purpose, it was possible to substantially reduce the prices of such access-cum-computing devices. Then started a wave of collaboration with such interested partners.

Maybe the innards and OS enhancements are made by India, but they used a readily available case design?  It is hard to say at this point, but we will keep you updated on how this story progresses.  Also if this tablet gets a real name, aside from the "$35 tablet made by the Indian government," we will keep you informed.

[pic source]

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