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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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  • I hope they succeed. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:16AM (#26665139)
    I don't see why Negroponte's OLPC project didn't succeed before. I can buy a netbook on Newegg for 250$... yet a laptop with a quarter of the power and less functionality can't be built for less than 200$ for the OLPC.

    Best of luck to India.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:43AM (#26665385) Journal

    That'll save you a bundle right there. If you write the engineering off as a total loss after you take the first corporation bankrupt and then you stiff the IP owners on royalties when you build them, you'll be on the way to getting it done. It will be flimsy, not include batteries (for 2W you can buy rechargeables), and have a very poor screen, and the $10 won't include packaging, marketing, distribution, or profit. The QA will be poor too, so there will be lots of failures, but at that price point most won't bother to send it back for repairs.

  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @09:52AM (#26665457)

    Your average chinese MP3 player or cellphone with an added keyboard could be repurposed as a very cheap "laptop".

  • by nbharatvarma ( 784546 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:01AM (#26665553)
    I have seen IPhone rip-offs for Rs. 2500/-. At the current rate of exchange, it would be around $50. These phones don't even have IMEI numbers and the government has banned the phones for that reason.
    I have seen the phone in action and it works just fine.
    I am guessing you will never get these mobiles in the U.S. :)
  • by asdir ( 1195869 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:15AM (#26665715)
    By most accounts, and the most important of them is the GDP per capita, India is a low income country and therefore a developing nation.
    I guess it is fair to say that a developing nation is a third world country, don't you?
    They might have a big GDP growth and some advanced technologies invented in their country, but that does not mean that the average Indian is rich, at least not yet.

    You accuse your parent as narrow minded? Your own conclusions don't seem to be too far away from prejudice either, my friend.
  • You've not been following the Indian manufacturing industry. They are making leaps and bounds in quality, and it should not be assumed that Indian goods are junk.
  • Re:Imagine... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aonaran ( 15651 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:29AM (#26665841) Homepage

    Dad made it a condition of the sale that they not put the dealer sticker on it.

    "but they all have the sticker, we put it on as soon as they get to the lot" said the dealer.

    "You do not, you trade cars with other lots and they don't want your sticker on a car they sell" Dad said.

    "But I'm not allowed to let a car leave here without it"

    "Then you don't get my sale"

    He got the car, and there was no sticker on it.

  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @10:36AM (#26665947)

    I can buy a netbook on Newegg for 250$... yet a laptop with a quarter of the power and less functionality can't be built for less than 200$ for the OLPC.

    The OLPC's laptop may have a quarter of the processing power of your $250 netbook, but it also only consumed a quarter of the current. Price and performance were not the only factors considered when designing the XO-1.

    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.

    Open sales are great if you have the manufacturing capacity to deliver them, but the XO-1 project didn't. I guess you weren't involved in the "Give One, Get None" debacle of 2007; I didn't receive mine until mid-Spring 2008 because of their supply chain and distribution issues.

  • Re:Imagine... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @11:06AM (#26666347)

    Ok... 2W each required for power. $1000 buys you 100 of them, max RAM 2GB. So total power consumption for 100 laptops = 200W, or less than one desktop PC.

    Buy a some cheap NAS and a few $30 Gb switches at BestBuy.

    Run ESXi (if you can) on each (free license). Run 4 Linux-based VMs at 512MB each on each laptop. Throw as many laptops as you can into HA/DRS clusters.

    Configure each Linux VM as a beowulf node if you like, or not. Who cares, you're maximizing/balancing the resources on all 100 machines, do what you like with them.

    You now have about 400 Linux VMs running on about $1500 worth of hardware.

    Poor Man's Datacenter for about the price of one gaming PC. Oh sorry, you'd probably need at least one decent-sized room fan somewhere nearby too, $30 at Home Depot.

  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:03PM (#26668017)

    China and Japan are not really the same though. China builds electronics in big factories that are really indistinguishable from the old collective farms and communist era factories. I.e. they are good at getting lots of people to do a simple task. The advent of capitalism means that they make things for export and the old communist system of jobs for life, free healthcare and so on has been abolished.

    One of my colleagues, who was born in China, told me that the factory workers are often not paid by the factory owner and if they demonstrate the local party will send goons to silence them. Most of the factory owners are foreign, usually Taiwanese and all the design is done outside China. Basically China is a massively feudal place.

    Now Japan, even in the 1950's wasn't like this. The Japanese had good domestic engineering companies even in the 1930's. Most of them were bombed to bits in World War II, but Japan was a modern society 50 years before the fascists took over, and became one again quite quickly again after the Americans rebooted it. And post war it wasn't too surprising that they concentrated on consumer electronics now that America had taken over responsibility for Japan's security.

    Now up until very recently for example, it was a very equal, well educated and essentially middle class society, a bit like an Asian version of Sweden. Equality has dropped a bit, but the essentially middle classness of the place hasn't changed. That's the sort of society you need to produce engineering companies. It's also very different to China, which has never really got past feudalism. Feudal societies aren't egalitarian enough to be good at designing consumer electronics, because that implies that (young, poor) engineers need to be able to tell the (old, rich) owners how to get things done. In a feudal society the orders flow in only one way, from the top down.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire