India developing $35 touch-screen tablet

Many were surprised when the iPad debuted at a reasonably affordable $499. The collection of slate competitors poised to take on the Apple slate are just around the corner, or so we keep hearing, and they're expected to stick with similar pricing. Some will no doubt be cheaper than the base iPad model, but it seems unlikely that any will dip substantially below the $400 mark. Surely, none will come close to the budget tablet being developed by India's "elite technical universities." Billed as the country's answer to the OLPC, the touch-screen slate is expected to retail for a scant $35—just $5 more than the cost of an iPad dock.

Details are scarce at the moment, but the device is said to be capable of basic word processing, web browsing, and videoconferencing. According to Engadget, the Indian slate can also open PDF files and play YouTube videos. USB connectivity is included, putting it one step ahead of the iPad on the that front. There's an optional solar panel, too, and it looks like Android and Linux are both being considered as potential operating systems.

As one might suspect, this tablet is being targeted at the educational market. The Indian government even plans to subsidize the cost for students, knocking the slate's price down to just $20. Production could start as early as next year, although no one's signed on to actually manufacturer the device. If the OLPC project is any indication, the final price could be quite a bit higher than the initial $35 estimate.

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