Remember the $35 tablet that created ripples across the tech world with its ridiculously low price tag? Well, news has it that it’s going to reach markets by the 10th of January next year with the domestic PC maker HCL Infosystems Ltd. doing the honors. Named ‘Sakshat,’ the tablet has already received government funding to the tune of $6.5 million, though the size of the order is not in millions of units as was envisaged earlier but a more modest hundred thousand units of the tablet which will comprise the first phase of production.
The first lot of Sakshats will be subjected to extensive tests both in a lab setting as well as in the real world scenario and will be followed with a bigger order of a million units. Strange enough, there in no mention of price when govt. officials announced the expected launch date of the tablet, fueling speculation of whether the coveted $35 price tag will indeed be maintained. The first lot of Sakshats will be distributed to university students during the second half of the year.
As for the tablet, it packs some cool features that make it truly impressive especially when one considers the ultra cheap price. Like it has 2 GB of RAM, USB ports, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and will include a memory card in place of a hard drive. The 7 inch tablet will run the popular Android operating system and will be able to meet all basic computing needs such as web browsing, email, and word processing. The display will be in color and is being touted to be perfectly capable of playing back even YouTube videos.
Apart from these, the Sakshat tablet is known to support web conferencing, video, media player, Internet Browser, PDF reader, Open Office and unzip utilities. However, the tablet might not be responsive to finger gesture and will only be receptive to stylus operations.
Future editions of the device are likely to include a solar charging option to enable its reach to even the most remotest areas where electricity might be scarce. Bigger 9 and 10 inch models of the Sakshak are also in the offing after the successful launch of the 7 inch version.
However, while all of this seems fine, doubts seem to be arising regarding the very origin of the tablet itself with some reports claiming it’s not an entirely Indian effort itself in the first place. The original tablet is believed to be the works of Chinese manufacturer Hivision which sells the tablet as Speedpad or PWS700HA for $100 and was first showcased at the CeBIT 2010. So it might be the Government is buying the Speedpad in bulk and subsidizing it to make it available for at a highly affordable $35. Both the Sakshat as well as the Speedpad are way too similar to point out there is something to it, though there is no official confirmation from Hivision or a denial from the Indian Government as yet. Hopefully, a clearer picture emerges soon enough.