India’s tantalizing tablet

As noted here last week, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Sibal announced an interest in distributing a $35 touchscreen tablet to students across India.  Charbax demonstrated the reference design used is likely from AllGo Embedded Systems, which recently displayed a matching ARM device.

While Fast Company, Wired, (and later All Things Considered) have responded  skeptically to the proposed cost, let’s assum that one day we will be able to make such tablets, just as we now have $100 laptops. (I don’t think they are far off – we likewise think we can have a more powerful, rugged tablet for twice that cost by the following year.)  What I want to know is: will the government invest in a national deployment, in providing equal access to rich and poor, and in the connectivity infrastructure needed to make this a truly empowering shift?

Some of the statements made suggest the government are considering a nation-wide 50% subsidy and promotion across over 5,000 schools. That’s a fantastic start — I hope their interest persists long enough to start such a project in earnest.

Update: We would be glad to share any of our tech and experience with an India project to help their vision succeed. Nicholas published an open letter to the Ministry inviting them to Cambridge.

Pixel Qi in the limelight, Notion Ink speaks

Pixel Qi is showing off at Computex this week in Taipei, and Charbax just posted a detailed interview with Mary Lou Jepsen from the floor.   Look for the “Qi” button at 0:25, and serious geeking out on the physics and fab process starting at 5:00… and for the rest of the video! (For a quicker soundbite, he also posted this side-by-side iPad / iPhone / 3Qi comparison video yesterday.)

Notion Ink's Adam tablet, in portrait and landscape

Notion Ink's Adam tablet, with 3Qi screen

Pixel Qi are having a good quarter.  They are offering a variety of display options, including wide-view, anti-reflective coating, and a capacitive touchsreen. And they have started winning industry awards. More details, and a Notion Ink interview (they say their Adam tablet will release on time in a few months), after the jump.
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XO-3 news around the world

News about the Marvell partnership and accelerated XO-3 roadmap are hitting newswires in other languages (in French, in Spanish, in German); they tend to be confused about what will be available when at what cost.  Still, it’s fascinating to read some of the international views on what this means.

In English, there’s a discussion about the new design online:

Charbax: Marvell openly aims to fulfill OLPC’s design and pricing goal,
Wayan: OLPC will be working to sell Moby tablets,
mavrothal: How XO-1.5 will fare, if new big deployments materialize and what the data show can change everything,
sola: It is enough to customize a well-built reference design and port [Sugar] to ARM… sell the new XOs through every possible sales channel

And even Larry Dignan gets in on the chatter — saying that the real impact of the XO-3 will be to drive conversation about what tablets should do once they are omnipresent.