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India unveils $35 tablet computer prototype

MUMBAI, India - It looks like an iPad, but it's 1/14th the cost: India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touch-screen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011.

If the government can find a manufacturer, the Linux operating system-based computer would be the latest in a string of "world's cheapest" innovations to hit the market out of India, which is home to the $2,127 compact Nano car, $16 water purifier and $2,000 open-heart surgery.

The tablet can be used for word processing, Web browsing and videoconferencing. It has a solar power option - important for India's energy-starved hinterlands - at an extra cost.

"This is our answer to MIT's $100 computer," human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday, referring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's prototype of a $100 laptop for children in the developing world. Sibal turned to India's elite technical universities to develop the $35 tablet. India plans to subsidize the cost of the tablet for its students, bringing the purchase price down to around $20. - AP

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