India’s $35 Tablet gets a Shot in the Arm from OLPC Chairman Negroponte

The initial euphoria surrounding the announcement of the $35 Tablet by India’s Human Resources Minister, Kapil Sibal couple of weeks ago was quickly replaced by doubts. The skepticism mainly stemmed from India’s previous failure to deliver a low cost laptop. Further, the $35 price had some glaring contrasts. A teardown of Apple’s iPad shows the bill of materials alone at $230, and One Laptop per Child’s low cost Tablet, announced earlier this year, is priced at $75.

However, the Indian government might have found just the right ally to turn that skepticism around. In a blog post last Thursday, the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) chairman Nicholas Negroponte offered to provide India with full access to all of OLPC’s technology and expertise.

In the blog entry, Negroponte writes:

“I repeat my offer: full access to all of our technology, cost free. I urge you to send a team to MIT and OLPC at your earliest convenience so we can share our results with you”

He clarified that India’s Tablet was not an “answer” or “competitor” to OLPC’s XO laptop, and cautioned India to not model its Tablet after the iPad, which was primarily a media consumption device, not an educational tool.

The Indian government has a long list of challenges ahead, before it can disprove the skeptics on this occasion, but Negroponte’s offer should, at a minimum, allay its fears on the technology front.

Sources: Good Gear Guide, OLPC blog, Guardian UK

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