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Why India's $35 computer joke isn't funny

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by prototype, Jul 25, 2010.

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  1. prototype

    prototype Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Here we go again! India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has "launched" a $35 computer, evidently a "dream project" of his. The touch-screen, Linux-based device looks iPad-inspired, but we know little about how it works.

    It emerged from a student project with a bill of material adding up to $47, a price that the minister wants to bring down to $10 "to take forward inclusive education". It promises browser and PDF reader, wi-fi, 2GB memory, USB, Open Office, and multimedia content viewers and interfaces.

    Will it die a quick death within this year, or a painful, government-funded one over the next two? I fear the latter. Project Sakshat even has a busy website so it looks like a project well under way.

    Remember the Rs 10,000 personal computer, the Simputer, the $100 laptop from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the NetPCs from a host of companies and India's so-called $10 laptop? How many flops and failures will it take to convince governments -- and brave, but misled companies -- to get these facts of life tech, products, and life?

    You don't launch products until you have a product to launch. Else it's vapourware. The Indian government is building up a good track record of vapourware, from $10 laptops upward. Apple, for in sharp contrast, for instance, launches with a million units ready to sell, and midnight queues outside.

    You don't show prototypes unless they are working ones with running apps, backed by a clear game plan to build up a vendor and apps network, and a clear design and specifications - and, preferably, a bill of materials.

    It isn't about the hardware -- it's about the application and the applications (apps) ecosystem. What will it be used for? Who will make those apps? Where's the developer community? Where is the road map for hundreds of applications?

    Apple had it all when it launched the iPhone and the iPad.

    Why India's $35 computer joke isn't funny-Hardware-Infotech-The Economic Times
     
  2. tariqkhan18

    tariqkhan18 Major Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Good article. First of all the price is still not clear some are saying $35, $30 and some $40.

    All the specifications are not clear. If you cannot provide these crucial information, then why break in the news?
     
  3. prototype

    prototype Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    yes we can only make sure if this is a viable and successful project or not,only after going through its specification's and price,though i pray to the god it may become one among the success stories of Indian engineering marvel
     
  4. jagjitnatt

    jagjitnatt Major ELITE MEMBER

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    I don't think it would ever be successful. We've seen such devices in the past. AMD, Intel, Motorola all came up with low cost devices.

    At $45, the kind of performance we're talking about will he horrible. We don't have a chip fabricating facility in India. TSMC and UMC are the leading fabs. They are usually booked by fabless companies like NVidia and ATI for thei manufacturing and are always booked 6 months in advance and at a very high cost.

    A complete PC is impossible for $45, unless we're talking about a pc running a mobile 700-800 mhz processor with 512 mb ram. Even then the lcd would cost extra.

    Let the specs come up. I doubt it would be anything usable.
     
  5. prototype

    prototype Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    India's $35 tablet--how low can it go?

    India on Thursday unveiled a prototype tablet computer that would sell for a mere 1,500 rupees, or $35, with the price possibly dropping even further as R&D efforts continue.

    Kapil Sibal, the country's Minister for Human Resource Development, showed off the super-cheap touch-screen device in New Delhi as part of a push to provide high-quality education to students across the country. The tablet also comes with a solar-power option that could make it more feasible for rural areas.


    The Linux-based computer at first glance resembles an Apple iPad and features basic functions you'd expect to see in a tablet--a Web browser, multimedia player, PDF reader, Wi-Fi, and video conferencing ability. It has 2GB of RAM (but no hard disk, instead using a memory card) and USB ports and could be available to kids from primary school up to the university level as early as next year.

    Students from several branches of the Indian Institute of Technology co-designed motherboards for the computer, which the ministry would like to see dropping to $20 and possibly getting as low as $10.

    Sibal called the as-yet-unnamed device India's answer to MIT's famed OLPC laptop aimed at children in developing nations, which started off five years ago with a projected cost of $100, but ended up going for $200.

    In May, Marvell Technologies announced that it would partner with the OLPC foundation to create the hardware for a proposed OLPC tablet, currently named the XO-3, that would go for around $100.

    But while the extremely low price of India's newly unveiled tablet is generating much hoopla, the gadget still faces hurdles before it lands in the public's hands.

    "This is just a prototype," education expert Zubin Malhotra told Newsxlive. "We need to find people who will be able to manufacture these devices at these price points and continue to develop them going forward."

    The tablet is part of a larger initiative aimed at improving India's educational system through technology. Nearly 8,500 colleges in the country have already gotten broadband connectivity, according to the Ministry for Human Resource Development, and some 500 Web-based and video courses are available for upload on YouTube and other online portals, with more in the works.

    India's $35 tablet--how low can it go? | Crave - CNET
     
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