BANGALORE, India – India’s richest software tycoon was planning Tuesday to produce a £20 ($32) tablet computer designed to bring iPad-style technology to his country.
Computer company Wipro, founded by Azim Premji, said it was developing a touch-screen PC device that would cost a fraction of the 29,500 rupee ($660) starting cost of an Apple iPad in India.
The tablet, aimed at the nation’s rural poor and schoolchildren, is under development at the company’s Electronic City campus in Bangalore, which employs 11,000 people.
A Wipro spokesman said the company was developing nanotechnology and miniaturized components to drive down costs and a pilot model should be ready early next year.
Ashok Jhunjhunwala, of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, said that although cutting the cost of a tablet PC to such a low level posed significant technical challenges, if the project succeeded, the implications for India would be huge.
He added, “With the kind of income levels we have in India, at $35 it would have a huge number of takers.”
Sales of tablet PCs such as the iPad, Blackberry’s Playbook and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab in India are expected to exceed one million units in the next 12 months.