You must surely remember the $35 Indian tablet for students that was announced with much fanfare by the HRD ministry more than a month back. At first, the tech community was rightfully skeptical, anyone would doubt such claims, after the $10 laptop debacle which had shamed the Indian Govt before.
But then, exactly a month back, Mr. Kapil Sibal, appeared on NDTV Gadget Guru, a tech show with a prototype of the $35 Android tablet in hand and demoed it before the world. It was real, was powered by Android and was definitely worth its price. Everyone started acknowledging and lauding India’s technological and manufacturing prowess and many experts heralded India’s arrival at the tech world stage.
“In 2011, the Sun, will rise for the children of India”, proclaimed HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal at the launch of the tablet.
However, some things are just too good to be true. Yesterday, it was revealed that the $35 tablet by India was actually the Hivision Speedpad, a $100 Android tablet made in China. It was actually unveiled at CeBIT 2010 and received wide coverage as the cheapest Android tablet on display. The specifications and the design of both tablets are exactly the same. In hindsight, I’m surprised no one discovered this earlier.
Check out this video of the Hivision Speedpad by JKKmobile.
And the video of the $35 tablet by GadgetGuru.
Apparently, the HRD ministry was just planning to buy the tablets from China in bulk, subsidize them to reach the $35 target price and was hoping that no one would notice. The contract awarded to HCL was just for testing the tablets, not for manufacturing them.