Sounding almost unbelievable, the Ministry of Human Resource Development in India on Thursday 22 July’10, has announced the launch of world’s cheapest priced Touchscreen Tablet PC, perhaps called SAKSHAT, that is priced at Rs. 1,500 or $35 and is primarily aimed at student community.
India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal also says that his department had started talks with global manufacturers to start mass production.
“We have reached a (developmental) stage that today, the motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35 (Rs. 1,500), including memory, display, everything,” he told a news conference”. “Initially manufacturing might be done in Taiwan or some other place but eventually it will be done in India,” Sibal said.
The touchscreen Tablet form factor computing device is believed to be 10 inches long and 5 inches wide and has packed Internet browsers, a PDF reader and video conferencing applications facilities and its hardware is claimed to be created with ample flexibility to incorporate new hardware features.
Based on Open Source Linux operating system, the Tablet device does not feature any hard-drive but believed to offer flash memory based storage solutions supporting upto 2GB storage. In addition it is believed to include WiFi 802.11b/g wireless connectivity, Fixed Ethernet port, digital camera, microphone and USB ports.
The display size of the device is also not known though in the picture (above) it seems to be a bit similar to a standard 10-inch netbook. Also there is no mention of its name but according to some rumors this world’s cheapest Tablet device would be called SAKSHAT meaning ‘Capable’.
The Tablet PC can not only support video-web conferencing, but also boasts of several other useful features such as multimedia viewers for video, pictures/images and music files supporting pdf/docx/ods/adp/xls/jpeg/gif/png/bmp/odt/zip/AVCHD/AVI and AC3 file formats.
The device is also believed to offer support for PDF reader, Archiving tools, Open Office suite of application which is a free open source alternative to MS Office and totally compatible with Word, Excel, and Power-Point, SciLab for printing support, audio and video media player capable of playing streamed along with stored media files.
The device is equipped with sleek looking Solar Panel used for charging batteries and is developed by research teams at India’s premier technological institutes, the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science.
According to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, this touchscreen Tablet computing device was expected to be introduced to higher education institutions from 2011 and department aims to bring the price further down to $20 (Rs. 960) and ultimately to $10 (Rs. 480) making it cheaper than cheapest mobile phone Nokia and Vodafone in India which comes for Rs. 999/-
The SAKSHAT tablet device is expected to be available for students next year.