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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

OLPC Offers Assistance to India’s $35 Tablet Project

Binu T Paul
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Binu T Paul
MIT Media Labs’ One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is again back on the discussion forums as its founder Nicholas Negroponte expressed enthusiasm for India’s $35 tablet effort and offered to assist by making his organization's technology and expertise available.

Negroponte’s open letter came in as a reply to India’s Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal’s statement during the launch of $35 tablet, "This is our answer to MIT's $100 computer." Negroponte opined that access to a connected laptop or tablet is the fastest way to enable universal learning and that the goals of OLPC and $35 tablet project are one and the same.

Applauding Kapil Sibal for promoting a $35 tablet, Negroponte said “The world needs your device and leadership. Your tablet is not an 'answer' or 'competitor' to OLPC's XO laptop. It is a member of a family dedicated to creating peace and prosperity through the transformation of education. I offer full access to all of our technology, cost free. I urge you to send a team to MIT and OLPC at your earliest convenience so we can share our results with you." Back in 2006, India's HRD Ministry had rejected an initiative by MIT calling for a collaborated effort of OLPC with the government, terming it as pedagogically unsound and potentially harmful to student health.

The $35 tablet has a memory card instead of a hard drive and 2GB of RAM. The gadget has Bluetooth, Wi-fi, USB ports, Video out and SD card slots and SIM card slots for 3G ready connectivity. The computer runs on the Android OS and has a 7-inch touchscreen display.

Hopefully an unconditional collaboration between Indian government and MIT labs can materialize India’s goal of slashing down the price to $10. Improved interaction and better exchange of ideas and technologies can make it a less costly and a high standard device. As the aim of both projects remains the same, a $10 laptop will revolutionize the educational spectrum of the less privileged in India.

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