The Rich Market that is India’s Poor
Sunday, January 2, 2011
MUMBAI – The sleek, portable computing platform, akin to the iPad, offers all the practical features of a tablet computer – internet browser, multimedia player, PDF reader and video-conferencing capability.
But its biggest draw is its price: US$35 [Dh128].
Unveiling the prototype of the touch-screen computing tool in July, Kapil Sibal, who at the time was India’s human resources and development minister, pegged the device as India’s answer to the $100 laptop developed in 2005 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The laptop, whose price rose later to $190, is used by the One Laptop Per Child Association, a US non-profit organisation, to create educational opportunities for the poorest children in developing countries.
Mr Sibal has similar ambitions for India, but at a fraction of that price. The $35 device will be introduced this year in thousands of higher-education institutions, offering an attractive, low-cost alternative for those who cannot afford laptops or personal computers. As research and development efforts continue, Mr Sibal expects the price of the device to drop to $10.