The $35 laptop?


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The Indian Express is reporting that India's Ministry of Human Resource Development is set to launch a $35 laptop:

Looking as stylish as a large i-phone, this $35 “low-cost computing-cum-access device” is a 5/7/9 inch touchscreen gadget packed with internet browsers, PDF reader, video conferencing facilities, open office, sci-lab, media player, remote device management capability, multimedia input-output interface option, and multiple content viewer.

Of course, we've been let down by big claims like this before (see the $100 laptop that ended up costing ~$200). One of the commenters on the Indian Express article was particularly skeptical:

knowing a similar stunt pulled 1-2 years back, It would be prudent for cheering Indians to note that the actual price may be off by 2 0's on the right of $35.The Govt will also provide heavy lead bricks with it for heat draining and VFM.

Watch a short clip of the launch of the laptop.



Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

Join the Conversation

Barry Walsh
July 23, 2010

Despite the skepticism offered by the commentator quoted, the story seems quite credible and significant, although it is hard to characterise the device as a "laptop" - lacking a mechanical keyboard. Nonetheless, if it works and lasts as long as say, a cellphone, before it starts to fail, then it still seems like a very significant initiative for the India government (or anyone else) to sponsor. While the OLPC initiative could produce only a $199 laptop (instead of a $100 laptop), that too was a great initiative that is yet to reach its potential of offering Internet connectivity even to the poorest individual. Even a $35 laptop needs to be subsidised if it proposed to be given to every child - it allows a sponsor to donate so many more of them. It seems that the lack of practical uptake of these initiatives to date is not due to devices being not what they seem, or to them being too expensive to produce, but to the lack of institutional interest so far in sponsoring their production, distribution and use.

Haroon Rashid
August 28, 2010

Dr. Negraponte of OLPC. Heartiest compliment to this iniative. I find very, very exciting. Because it is from the Indo-Pak subcontinent, SAARC, for common wellness of the region, and neighbourhood. The specs., the spirit, the product not only good, but excellent. This will be the starting point of good neighbourhood, regional prosperity.