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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The cheap laptop has been developed as part of a broader national plan to update the technology used by Indian colleges and schools.

Details of the laptop are scant, but it is reported to use wireless to connect and have 2GB of memory onboard.

It will stand as a rival to the other cheap laptops made by the One Laptop project and Intel.

Cheap tech

The cheap laptop will be the centrepiece of India's National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technologies, due to be unveiled on 3 February at Triupati, Andhra Pradesh.

Included in the mission is spending on e-books and e-journals for students, development of translation tools, upgrades to educational networks and more PCs for high schools.

Much of the e-learning work will be co-ordinated via the Shaksat web portal, on which students can register and then use to monitor their progress.

Early reports of the cheap laptop suggested that it would cost only 500 rupees (£7). However, this could be a mistranslation, because transcripts of the speech, in which it was unveiled, mentioned it costing $10 (£7) but this was later corrected to $100 (£70).

Work on the device has been carried out at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.

Even if the finished device costs $100, it will significantly undercut other low cost laptops aimed at the developing world, such as the One Laptop Per Child's XO machine and the Intel Classmate.

Originally, the XO was intended to cost $100 but the finished version ended up costing about $188 (£131).

The development of the cheap laptop is the latest in a series of initiatives to create low cost computing devices for Indians. In late 1999, the Simputer hand-held computer debuted and has been used in a variety of projects, including digitising land records.


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