It was a revelation for me to read the background story about Aakash ($35 tablet) in this FastCompany write-up.
Firstly, its impressive to know that the design for this potential-commercial-success is coming from an academic campus (IIT). The design is then sold to a commercial manufacturer (DataWind) with a challenging price target to meet. The challenge for the manufacturer is sweetened with access to a large protected market (subsidized purchases by the government). This sounds like a good example of the value chain making the best of the strengths of the individual players (IIT / design – DataWind / commercial manufacturing – Indian government / distribution with a cause). The understanding of this definitely increases the credibility of the project for me.
Secondly, the fact that the IIT students (& professors) are getting involved in a live product development experience is amazing. And that too a ground breaking product (price point) of a worthy impact (distribution across government schools). Kudos to the people involved.