I ran accross an update on the Indian company Datawind's second extremely cheap tablet tonight.
Read the full blog post here, but it's interesting to summarize a few things here:
- The tablets will cost $20.
- The Indian government is subsidizing half the cost of the tablet.
- The government is doing this because they'll recoup the cost of the tablet compared to the cost of distributing (public domain) textbooks for 3 years.
- The company is doing this as in instrument to fight poverty.
- Competition for cellular data is so intense that they can offer unlimited data plans for $2 a month.
- The company has developed technology to compress and load webpages faster over legacy wireless networks, increasing access in areas where cellular connections are slow.
- Many consultants are arguing that this model will disrupt Western markets, especially in low-income areas.
These are not just "tools", but rather the platforms for the beginning of extreme transformations in how children in poor areas around the world learn. I'm fascinated by the direction this will take.
Imagine if the government partnered with private companies to maintain broadband wireless networks everywhere in the U.S. and the resources to access these networks.