The $35 Tablet PC: Not Buying It Yet

By  |  Friday, July 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm

How many times will we be burned by the promise of ultra low-cost computers, like the $35 touch screen PC the Indian government just announced?

India has a prototype of the cheap computer, and plans to roll the real thing out to Indian schoolchildren and higher education students in 2011. It’ll have a Linux-based operating system, a USB port, a 2 GB memory card and other unspecified specs, the Guardian reports. But as fascinating as the super cheap laptop concept may be, there’s always some snag, gotcha or fatal flaw that prevents the promises from matching up with reality.

In the case of One Laptop Per Child, the goal of a $100 laptop was never achieved. Even in the second-hand eBay market, asking prices are closer to $200. Earlier this year, a website claimed to offer $98 laptops running Windows CE, but that site is now defunct. Another company called Cherrypal has tried making a name for itself with dirt-cheap laptops, like the 7-inch model running Android for $100, but getting one can be a hassle, as one customer has documented.

The $35 tablet’s problem is already clear if you read the AP’s coverage: India wants to get the price down to around $20 in order to sell the tablet at home, but to do that, the country either needs to subsidize the cost itself — a tall order with 110 million kids targeted in the initial roll out — or convince manufacturers to set higher prices in the developed world.

In other words, the $35 tablet’s manufacturing cost alone would be more expensive outside of India. Let’s make the grand assumption that manufacturers would even want to deal with thinner profit margins than netbooks; I wonder whether consumers in the developed world would be willing to pay for a tablet with no memory, an unknown operating system and other specs that apparently can’t even be mentioned at this point in time.


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19 Comments For This Post

  1. Kaw Says:

    I'm reminded of the similar hype generated not too long ago about the $10 laptop from India.

    You know, the one that ended up being neither $10, nor a laptop…

  2. JaredNewman Says:


    Ah yes, the unfortunately-named "Sakshat." I actually intended to mention that in the post, but it got cut out along the way. Thanks for mentioning it.

  3. Gauhar Says:

    The tablet runs Android OS, as seen from screenshot

  4. Bob Says:

    I don't think thats a picture of the $35 tablet, it looks a lot different from the picture above.

  5. Jessica Says:

    the one above looks like the eken m002

  6. House MD Stream Says:

    Not even for that price I would be interested. Something not as good as a laptop or a kindle, what the heck is it?

  7. Chris Says:

    Something that expensive to manufacture for 35$? Unrealistic. In India, as well? Wake up! Like Kaw says, what about the “10$ laptop’? And it will run Linux OS? SCAM!

  8. Peter Schmidinger Says:


  9. Nikesh Says:

    What nobody is realizing is that the $35 figure is not for the typical end user. That is the price an Indian student will be paying after a hefty government subsidy of at least 50%. Still, if they can pull off a moderately compelling tablet for under a hundred, it would be a good device for lots of people who only need a computer to chat, email, and surf the web.

  10. vishnu.t.p Says:

    ITS POSSIBLE…….i am from india……the govt will give a 50% subsidy..the people need to pay only600-700 rs……if the tablet is manufactured in a large would be selling this for 10$[500rs]..for the first phase they will be manufacturing only 1million tablets……its probably running android or linux…

  11. Hsehdar Says:

    Point driven towards that "Will developed world accept or buy this laptop" is not valid. When intention of the Govt is to support their own country men then the developed world need not converse about it.

  12. whatislife Says:

    Well it is not designed for retailing to consumers in "developed countries" market!!! This is for students in India where millions cannot afford $500 for a laptop and govt cannot foot the subsidy for $500. It cost $35 to manufacture and does not include the costs for packaging, shipping and retail.

    It would involve the govt of india footing the R&D, administrative and logistics cost. When a Apple, Asus or any other companies retail a tablet they have account for all these costs and price them into the final price point. So it is feasible but is not just targeted for retail market so all these comparisons fail and are not valid.

  13. medbuoy666 Says:

    thanks, it’s really helpful

  14. Ishtiaq Ahmad Says:

    can any one tell me how to buy this tablet pc
    plz send me contact number of the seller plzzzz help

  15. sam Says:

    Guys, It is not for you F*****G Ap**e Laptops. It is India and Everything is Possible. Now u guys are jealous, isnt so ? A** Holes

  16. naman Says:

    how can i buy it

  17. bhushan Says:

    how can i buy this

  18. caitanya Says:

    can u tell me in Delhi which place i buy this $35 pc .can u tell me plssssssss?

  19. Regalos de empresa Says:

    It would involve the govt of india footing the R&D, administrative and logistics cost. When a Apple, Asus or any other companies retail a tablet they have account for all these costs and price them into the final price point. .
    Regalos de empresa