Indian iPad Competitor Launches. Cost: £25

In my bag today by Mat Packer

Yes, you read that right. Nope, it's not a typo. £25 (actually, £23 on current rates). Rumoured features include colour, multi-touch 10.5" screen, 2Gb memory, Flash compatibility, Wifi, Ethernet connection, camera and an optional extra of a solar charger.

That means word processing, video conferencing, web browsing and yes, the ability to play Flash videos, games for less than the cost of the AppleCare warranty on an iPad (3 times less, if we're counting).

The Indian technology sector is developing a name for itself for throwing out the rule book when it comes to the cost of consumer technology. Witness the £1,900 Nano car from Tata and for roughly the same price, how's about open heart surgery.

The tablet which runs Linux (no info on which flavour) comes in at a measly $35, whilst it's shiny Cupertino-born compadre will set you back $499 for the cheapest flavour.

Sadly the information available through Associated Press doesn't reveal many features, although the optional solar power version sounds like it'd come in handy, at least for the week that the sun shines here. <insert obligatory joke about the UK's Indian Summer here>.

The slate was developed by students from the Indian Institute of Technology, a network of 15 autonomous technology institutes across India. The government hopes to further subsidise the cost of the tablet making it available between $10-20. India's average monthly income rose to Rs. 3,000 (roughly $64/£41.50) which would put this device within reach of a massive proportion of the population.

The caveats? The device is still a prototype and the government is on the hunt for a manufacturer. Their aim is to have the tablet on-sale in 2011.

Finding a company to produce the device on what must be wafer-thin margins might be a challenge, although with a potential home market of 1bn people, there should be plenty of opportunity to make profit on volume sales.

In the same way the iPad has heralded a new era in tablet computing, costing more than ten times less, be as dramatic a sea change? We await with baited breath.

And for £23, it's got to be worth a punt. I suspect there'll be a monster of a waiting list.

Photo (cc) Mathew Packer.

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