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Portables Hardware

India Will Show Its $10 Laptop Prototype 374

Tech Ticker writes "The Indian Government last year announced the development of a cheap $10 laptop, but was later rectified as $100 laptop. Now the government has announced that HRD minister Arjun Singh will unveil the prototype of a Rs. 500 ($10) computer. The computer is developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai. No specifications were revealed but DNA, a daily newspaper, has mentioned that it will be small and portable, will feature Wi-Fi, LAN, and expandable memory, and will operate on 2 watts of power."
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India Will Show Its $10 Laptop Prototype

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  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:42AM (#26665381) Journal

    It didn't succeed because Negroponte wouldn't let anyone who wanted one buy it. It's that simple. Had he done that he would have sold enough of them to get them into the field and had money to continue development and produce them faster.

    So what stopped Negroponte was....Negroponte.

    Uhm, sources for this, please? According to the Wikipedia entry, there's an estimated 1,000,000 units sold [] and according to a recent written interview with Negroponte, they're about to deploy the 1,000,000th unit [] --- so I fail to see where your assertion holds together. You can't take orders for a million units and be all that selective about who buys them. Through the B1G1 / G1G1 programs anyone with a valid credit card could purchase. That certainly sounds like an open door.

  • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:50AM (#26665433) Homepage

    G1G1 was a special time limited, was USA only and cost twice as much as a normal OLPC. Not exactly an 'open door'.

  • by drunkenoafoffofb3ta ( 1262668 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:08AM (#26665633) Journal
    I thought "third world" was outdated terminology.

    I'm sure "developing countries" is the modern, PC, terminology.

    /off to read the Guardian newspaper

  • by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:25AM (#26665805)

    Right, because that's how Louisiana is on a day to day basis right?

    I guess we are supposed to assume that Sri Lanka on a daily basis is similiar to the images we saw after the Tsunami right?

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:16AM (#26666473)
    Low density rural life is much less appalling than high density cities, regardless of whether you are in the 1st or 3rd world.
  • By most accounts, and the most important of them is the GDP per capita

    Translated into dollars or into Big Macs? There's a difference. Plenty of countries have deeply undervalued currencies, which makes the cost of living in those countries appear a lot cheaper than the cost of a comparable lifestyle in North America, Europe, Japan, or the Republic of Korea. Look up purchasing power parity [] and The Economist's Big Mac Index in the encyclopedia, and follow the references if you're interested. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:40AM (#26666773)

    >2) Retail takes some 50% cut.

    You've never owned a computer store, nor worked in one, have you?

    Divide that by 10 and you have the top margin on the popular products. 50% is reserved for junk like cables. 1% - 5% is the margin on common parts (like the stuff you'd put in these things) such as hard drives, monitors, PCI cards in general, etc. It's the same on laptops, although some craptastic "high-end" shops do try on the 50% margin--and usually end up out of business before the year's end.

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:54AM (#26666961) Homepage Journal

    Sadly, no. I've seen the retail markup of most computers and computer accessories. While the accessories might approach 20%, computers are usually about 1%-10% markup, tops. Mostly in the lower single digits, though. Really.

    That's why no one can seem to stay in the retail computer business very long. Aside from a few protected channels, like the Apple Store, direct PC makers like (Dell), and power buyers like WalMart who carry like 2 different machines at any one time, tops, the markup on most computers is very, very thin.

  • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:20PM (#26667313)

    Nonsense. The first world was NATO and its sphere of influence. The second world was the Warsaw Pact and its sphere of influence. The third world was everyone else. The terms ceased to be useful in the 90s when the Warsaw Pact fell apart.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:27PM (#26667439)
    I haven't been to the states in many years. I think it's been 17 years or so since the last time I stepped into a Walmart State-side, but back then they used to have signs all over that screamed at you in big bold letters "made in the USA" What happened?

    Well, they probably drove all the USA manuf's out of business. One of the nastier Walmart/Vendor relationship issues was that they will demand that you lower the price that Walmart pays for your goods every year. Otherwise, they'll buy elsewhere.

    So take a small company that makes a product. Walmart comes along and says "we'll triple your volume if you sell to us". Sounds great, right? Fast forward a few years and now Walmart demands that you sell them units at cost or below. If you say no, they pull their business and your volume drops by 75%.

    All that capital equipment that you bought to deal with the larger volume? Yeah, you're still paying for it.
  • Re:Imagine... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:35PM (#26667569) Homepage
    All you need to do is heat up the glue on the stickers with a hair dryer for a few seconds, and they peel right off. Wouldn't suggest using a heat gun on the laptop plastic frame though. Unless you really like texture.
  • by PaneerParantha ( 713034 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:26PM (#26668317)

    Yamuna, the river on the banks of which the capital city of India is located, is one such river.

    "Yamuna is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, especially around New Delhi, the capital of India, which dumps about 57% of its waste into the river."
    Source: []

  • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:51PM (#26668669)

    There was an article on Slashdot in the last day or two that listed the 1,000,000 number but also said that 300,000 had been sold via a government contract to one South American country, and 600,000 to another (one of the countries was Peru, not sure of the other). So basically that one million was two individual very large deals, not lots and lots of people suddenly developing an interest in buying the product. The problem with having a few big deals is that if you don't get the next big deal, you are out of business, which it sounds like is what happened.

  • by ericlondaits ( 32714 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:57PM (#26668757) Homepage

    Each country has its own education policy... they'd never accept the OLPC if it imposed its own educational curricula. There's no such thing as a "neutral" educational material...

    I know what you're thinking, but no, not even for math! ... during the years of military government here in Argentina it was forbidden to teach through Sets theory. It became the norm later, when democracy returned. ... Even without that craziness, there are a lot of ways to approach math.

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:21PM (#26669133)

    Having been to India for work, specifically Bangalore, I can tell you that there are places you can go that you would think you are in your office in the US or Europe. In fact, really the only things I noticed while at work were the different plugs you had to use. Well, and the large number of Indian workers, but that wasn't a massive change from work in the US. :)

    However, go anywhere outside of your nice office complexes, hotels and living accommodations and you *know* you are in India. It looks exactly how I would expect a third world country to look. Gutted buildings, tents set up for people to live under on-ramps, terrible roads, almost no street signals (not that anyone would obey them anyway). Go outside a city and its even more obvious.

    Let's be clear, I'm not saying India is a horrible place, but its clear that they would need a lot of changes to have the same feel you might have living in the West.

    If you have ever been to Jamaica, India outside the office parks looks just like Jamaica outside the resorts, except with a LOT more people.

    And rule of thumb, eat the Indian food in India. The faux Western food sucks ass. If you are invited to go to TGI Friday's, make sure you bring a good amount of money, its one of the more expensive places in Bangalore.

  • Re:Imagine... (Score:2, Informative)

    by synthesizerpatel ( 1210598 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:06PM (#26669813)

    I think you're vastly overestimating the bus and CPU speed on a $10 laptop. A $10 laptop will most likely be architecturally similar to a mobile phone with a large screen.

    And, if you wanted to run a bunch of virtual machines you wouldn't need a screen at all right? So just wait for them to come out with their $5 server edition!

  • by Cheerio Boy ( 82178 ) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @06:21PM (#26672191) Homepage Journal
    It was always about the cash for production. From Businessweek [] at about the time of the G1G1 promotion opening:

    "While the highly quotable Negroponte has been a master at getting publicity for OLPC, this effort is mostly about cash: "It has become important for us to raise money this way," says Negroponte. "I have met with about 30 heads of state. They're all enthusiastic. But there's a huge gulf between a head of state shaking your hand and a minister making a bank transfer." Negroponte won't predict how many laptops might be sold through Give 1 Get 1, but factory capacity presents no limitations: Quanta Computer in Taiwan can produce 1 million XO Laptops a month, if need be. "

    If he truly had wanted that to work he would not have restricted the program in any way. Just from the above clip the factory production wasn't an issue so what else could it have been? Hmm?

    He personally chose to restrict the sale of those laptops. Since his stated goal was cash for production he shot himself in the foot - nobody else did it for him.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"