In class we discussed the feasibility of a $75 tablet computer that could be used in the OLPC program. In fact, as we have seen in other blog posts both Intel and OLPC have developed their own tablets but failed to meet the price point that Nicholas Negroponte targeted. So the question remains: is it feasible to create a tablet or laptop that can be used for educational purposes below the the $75 price point? The folks over at DataWind have definitively answered that question with the creation of the Aakash tablet which was mentioned in this post. While both Intel and OPLC overshot their price estimates, Aakash is offering their tablet at 2900 INR ($60 USD) , or $35 USD with a government subsidy.
Assuming the previous post regarding the Aakash question is correct, the question an ICT4D analyst must pose is then: What more will it take to make this technology functional?
Without going too deep into the hardware specifications, we can summarize the difficulties faced by laptops and tablets in third world companies as follows:
- Internet connectivity limits usefulness
- Low quality hardware is prone to defects and limits information storage
- Harsh environments cause hardware to deteriorate
- Hardware issues are expensive to resolve
- Access to electricity limits use