A computer costing $10 sounds unbelievable. However it gets more unbelievable to know that the computer will be available in India in 6 months’ time. The government of India is all set to launch a Rs 500 laptop in India.
Some of us would remember – India had said a firm to the $ 100 laptop from the OLPC program. Now it sort of begins to make sense.
To cater to the needs of the immensely growing numbers of students in schools and colleges opting to make a career in the computer world, this step taken by the Indian government is attracting accolades all over the country. The government aims to bring the computer literacy to masses across India ranging
from households to schools and colleges.
Then there is the fact that no one has actually seen this new Rs 500 laptop, nor tested it and put forth an opinion on how useful it really is. That would come in due course, but till then we have to be satisfied with the few details we have about the $ 10 computer.
The technology for the $ 10 laptop was jointly developed by IIT Madras, IISC and Vellore Institute of technology. This ultra cheap laptop is well-equipped with features such as a 2 GB of memory, Wi-Fi, fixed Ethernet, expandable memory, and will consume just 2 watts of power.
The Rs 500 laptop will be unveiled at Tirupati, Tamil Nadu at the Indian government’s launch of the National Mission on Education through Information and Technology. Though the government’s plan to provide the laptop at subsidized rates to educational institutes is still on the fence but Higher Education Secretary, Ministry of HRD, R P Agrawal was optimistic regarding the project.”A lot of testing has to be done to ensure that the technology works properly. Once the testing is over, the computers will be made available on commercial basis. The target is to make it available in six months time,” he said
There has been no announcement as to which operating system will be used by the $ 10 laptop; but there are indications that it will be a simple Linux-based OS with a GUI, like Eee PC. Some time back, MIT-developed nonprofit One Laptop per Child program was doing rounds in India. However, the OLPC devices at a cost of $ 100 each was being considered expensive in the Indian market. Some consider this $10 laptop to be a reply to the MIT-developed nonprofit OLPC program.
If India sticks to the plans laid out by the government for the laptop, students will be able to get an e-content feed, and load them in their computers and take advantages of the materials. Government is looking for agencies to collaborate with for the production of these computers. Does it mean that the e-content would be the only information that can be used in the laptop? In that case, that would make its use extremely limited. But having an OS and pretty good connectivity options, it is likely that the computers would be able to connect to and browse the Net, though desktop software use would be extremely limited with the $ 10 laptop.
Reports are coming in that India’s education ministry has made deals with four publishers namely Macmillan,Tata McGraw Hill,Prentice-Hall and Vikas publishing to provide digital textbooks and content on the spectacular $10 laptops.