Friday, August 13, 2010

Is iPhaad, India's answer to the iPad, for real?

Following the launch of Apple's iPad, touted by many as the magnified version of the iPhone, India Inc. quickly jabbed Apple in the face with prototype release of the desi iPad (hereby referred to as the iPhaad) and announced it would sell this little baby for just $35. Ouch.
The HRD ministry had hailed this new development and taunted the mighty MIT to match their feat, which surpassed MIT's closest attempt - The $100 gadget under the "One laptop per child" banner (which actually ended up costing $200, as scaling down is underway at MIT to make it available for $100). This begs for the answer to one question: Is it for real?? Is it good enough?
The answer to that, you are about to find out!

The $35 tablet PC made a public appearance last night on NDTV and showed off its figure. Oops, I meant specs. It is very much for real, although, it remains to be seen how much this virgin will actually cost. It's going to be released in three size variants : 5-inch, 7-inch and 9-inch and is all set to don a 2GB RAM, a SIM card slot, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, microUSB, microSD expandable storage, video out and a webcam! All this with the Android 2.1 OS!! Moreover, it's a tree hugger as it runs on a meager two-watt power supply, meaning it can adapt to life in rural India. A minor drawback is its resistive touch interface, which is not very responsive, but for $35 I'd be more than willing to make that compromise!

Well, now, the bad news: HRD minister, Kapil Sibal, has specifically stated that they don't intend to enter the iPhaad, whose actual cost of components is close to $50, into the retail market. The $35 asking price is highly subsidized for use by students all over India and expected to be available only in schools and colleges.
It rolls out into students' hands by November 2011 and once it infects the Indians, has plans to globetrot as well!
The up side to it is, It will throw the industry into a competition to lower their prices and split open the market for more such products, even if for $100 and some more features thrown in.

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