India's $10 Laptop to be revealed Feb. 3 (Updated)

Jan 30, 2009 by Lisa Zyga weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- On February 3, the Indian government will display a prototype of the Rs 500, a $10 laptop that will hopefully give more young people the opportunity to learn and help increase the country's school enrollment.

UPDATE (February 4, 2009):
On Tuesday, February 3, India's national Mission on Education Program clarified that the $10 laptop is actually not a laptop, but a storage device. The storage device contains megabytes of data that can be accessed by a user by connecting the device to a laptop. The 5-inch by 10-inch Rs 500 storage device is now priced at $30. Joint Secretary N. K. Sinha, who made the announcement, did not explain why the device was being called a laptop when it was not. via: Times of India



The $10 laptop project is the product of a collaboration among institutions including the Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science, and IIT-Madras. The project began about three years ago in response to the proposed $100 laptop (the "One Laptop Per Child" project), an idea from MIT's Nicholas Negroponte, which was going to cost $200. Currently, the $10 laptop is projected to cost $20, but India's secretary of higher education R. P. Agarwal hopes that price will come down with mass production.

The $10 laptop will be equipped with 2 GB of memory, WiFi, fixed Ethernet, expandable memory, and consume just 2 watts of power.

The unveiling of the laptop will occur at the government's launch of the National Mission on Education through Information and Technology, held next Tuesday in Tirupati. The Indian government is working with publishers to provide e-content on educational subjects which will be available free of cost. The government is also considering a plan to subsidize internet connections for schools.

Currently, the government is consulting with different production agencies, and hopes to make the computers commercially available in the next six months.

via: Engadget

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 18

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gopher65
3.3 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2009
*jaw drop* Ok, someone tell me how they can make a laptop for 20 dollars. Even if it is a few generations old, that's crazy cheap. Obviously it won't have some of the special features of the 100 (200) dollar laptop (built in hand generator for places without electricity, very very sturdy), but even so, that's cheap.
thales
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2009
Incredible! As in, I literally don't believe it.
joefarah
4.3 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2009
2GB Memory - that must mean flash disk space - $2
5" LCD screen - $15
.5 GB RAM - $1
CPU $3
Still I can't get to 20 - still need power, motherboard, keyboard (or touch screen), mousepad,
case, on/off switch, and at least one USB port.
So I don't believe it either.
JeanPierreSarti
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 30, 2009
My Friends,

Having spent considerable time in India over the years I can tell you labor and materials are much cheaper than imaginable in the West or even Japan/Taiwan. So I think it is a bit myopic to just discount the price as impossible.

I will admit it is a very low price but if they can find local producers of parts they will not have to worry about exchange rates and who knows it might be possible.

Even if it costs 30 or 40 dollars it is good to see people pushing the boundaries.

Time will tell....

Entropic_Dreaming
1 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2009
And that is good news for the western electronics world! Hopefully they can take a hint at cost cutting procedures and see us outfitted with better tech for cheaper!
Doughboy
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 31, 2009
I have a feeling this is screw you to China. If India can pull this off, people are start to go to India for cheap labor.
nanomvp
3 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2009
It's screw you to the world.
jeffhans
3 / 5 (1) Jan 31, 2009
They could get down to the $20 range if they are using a Motherboard on chip design to reduce part costs and complexity. Locally produced out dated CPU speeds and you could get down to $20 assuming you can essentially discount labor costs through the entire production.
Hoarsesenz
4 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2009
I worked with Indians for some years, and apparently one of the "business myths"...I'll call it, for lack of a better term...is that China will provide the cheap hardware, India the cheap programming, and between them, they'll "take over the world". That's the dream. (Slightly flawed, but, that's not the issue, here.)

One other factor to throw in their accomplishment is that this cheapy PC doesn't need to pass Western regulations for safety and reliability. Nor do manufacturers necessarily need to give employee benefits. Lower the bar enough, and things become very cheap. It's not just a matter of the difference in cost of Indian material and labor. (Read: exploitation.)
nilbud
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2009
If it were described as a $10 phone you wouldn't be surprised.
DCP
not rated yet Feb 02, 2009
I want to buy one.
Ravis
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2009
Its intriguing that there are people who are willing to believe that the story may be true! My friends in India tell me that most educated people have not paid attention to it as the government has so little credibility when it comes to technology..

That said, its laudable that India is thinking of it and has Prof Nicholas Negroponte to thank for it. The Govt of India may never create the $10 laptop, but the fact it thought of it, teh fact that all TV stations talk about the $10 laptop and show teh picture of Prof Negroponte's laptop, that there are a dozen laptops that cost about $200 to $350 in teh market now can mostly be credited to the vision offered by Prof Negroponte. His One Laptop per Child has already gone to some million children across a couple dozen countries and that is great as it has changed the lives of children in those countries..

Of course the laptop should be available to children for free. Given the current costs even a $10 laptop is too expensive. But it cannot be made for free. OLPC brought the price down to say $50 a year or $4 a month. That in lieu of a school building is peanuts to pay for learning like the kids in American schools do or better.

I would think India would have gone for a safer bet had it followed Prof Negroponte's lead and continued to work on the laptop to lower the price point rather than come up with unbelievable statements..

If the laptop comes up with 4 to 5 year old CPUs taken out of old PCs or laptops and just carved out of the junk, it would hardly impress anyone.. It may have been better to have come up with the product first and announced later with a picture..

Prof Negroponte may be able to laugh at it as finally the India media has been showing OLPC laptop giving it the publicity OLPC could not afford.. And no one seems to believe that the govt of India is likely to come up with anything even close by miles..
Ravis
3 / 5 (2) Feb 02, 2009
It was interesting to hear Satish Jha, President of OLPC talk about the Rs 500 initiative..

Saying that while he applauds the aspiration, the fact that in this global economy all the global players who know a thing or two about product creation have not made a similar claim should mean something.

Then again, OLPC makes the only ZERO profit laptop and no one can offer anything below that cost as we speak unless there is a new technological breakthrough.

More interestingly.. Guess the project needs the blessings of the Lord and therefore is being appropriately launched at the seat of the Lord. It may be a divine product for all we know for humans do not seem to have advanced so far as yet.

Interesting indeed!!
la7dfa
not rated yet Feb 05, 2009
The "PC" is now revealed. Its a USB stick with OS...
I.E. you still have to have a normal computer before using this.
la7dfa
5 / 5 (1) Feb 05, 2009
Sorry, its a bit more advanced than I tought at first.
The box got WLAN, 2GB memory and can be used to print learning material for schools. OS is Linux ofcourse.
simulus
5 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2009
Currently you can get a respectable laptop for less than $100. HiVision MiniNote or Exon PC701-LX. Maybe the $10 laptop idea is more like a cloud computing access device than your own personal laptop.
thales
5 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2009
Skepticism FTW.
kuratakankamu
not rated yet Mar 15, 2009
ok ,US$ 10-20 laptop can be created to use plastic as semiconductor. Look at how OLED work.With special ink on plastic semiconductor to print chip circuit and motherboard's laptop at lowest cost.PlasticLogic is developing this system, so Indian is.Speed of micrprocessor plastic will be increased.