India to introduce $35 laptop

The iPad may have expanded its reach in Asia with its launch into Hong Kong and Singapore this week, but news from India of a $35 touch screen, laptop has stolen a fair amount of interest.

The device, developed by the Indian government as a low-tech alterntive for students, may not be far from the light of day with manufacturers in talks about mass market production. All this while the government hopes to lower to cost from $35 to $10, a truly break through price point with huge potential for India’s poorer citizens, who have less opportunities to access the web and are less liely to own sophisticated hardware required.

Reuters has more on the device’s spec.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal]said the touchscreen gadget was packed with Internet browers, PDF reader and video conferencing facilities but its hardware was created with sufficient flexibility to incorporate new components according to user requirement.

Products like this linux-based device have the opportunity to bridge Asia’s often enormous wide digital divide and provide IT capabilities and access to the internet to those for who latops and PCs are beyond their financial means.

While it may not rival the iPad, its market potential is greater than Apple’s latest product line despite the huge gulf in glamour and usability.