The Indian government sponsored tablet sold out in less than a week, and already preorders are beginning on a next-generation tablet.
These are essentially cheap, underpowered Android tablets (compared with other tablets), but it has a price that many people can afford. The Kindle Fire is taking off because it is selling for $199, but that’s still several times more expensive than a $45 tablet. These cheap tablets will not replicate an iPad experience, but they have the ability to bring computing and information to many more people.
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) sold for about $200 and was billed as a way to get computers into the hands of more children, helping them learn and develop new skills. I believe that a cheap tablet fits much better for these educational goals. Tablets naturally are good reading devices, particularly for textbooks and websites. Tablets in addition can be cheaper to build, more portable, easier to carry and have better battery life.
These tablets in India are government sponsored, but it won’t be long until a good tablet can be built for $100 or so, without requiring a subsidy. These tablets will be great for developing countries and provide a better experience than a cheap laptop could.
Indeed, the majority of the $45 tablets sold in India went to students. How long until every student in the U.S. is equipped with a tablet to use? How long until cheap tablets make their way into more developing countries, helping to educate the next generation?