India to follow $2,000 car with $20 laptop

by Caleb Reading

Via The Financial Times:

India is planning to produce a laptop computer for the knockdown price of about $20, having come up with the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car at Rs100,000 ($2,050) a vehicle. […]

India’s “Sakshat” laptop is intended to boost distance learning to help India fulfil its overwhelming educational needs. It forms part of a broader plan to improve e-learning at more than 18,000 colleges and 400 universities. However, some analysts are sceptical that a $20 laptop would be commercially sustainable and the project has yet to attract a commercial partner.

A prototype will go on show at a National Mission on Education launch in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, tomorrow. Pioneered in India by scientists at the Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and at the state-controlled Semiconductor Complex, the laptop has 2Gb Ram capacity and wireless connectivity.

R.P. Agrawal, secretary of secondary and higher education, said last week that the cost of the laptop was about $20 a unit, but he expected that to fall. He also said he expected the units to be commercially available in six months.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but it probably is going to be possible (someday).  Gotta wonder how much electronic waste that would create, though.

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