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India Will Show Its $10 Laptop Prototype

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the better-than-a-chicken-in-every-pot dept.

Portables 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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374 comments

Imagine... (5, Funny)

AdeBaumann (126557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665131)

... a $1000 beowulf cluster of those!

Sorry, had to be done...

Re:Imagine... (1)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665317)

1994 called and said they want their gimmick back, and by the way wanted to call you back about your base belonging to them?

Hey Congress, when you're in a hole, STOP DIGGING! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665331)

Yes, we're going to get ourselves out of debt by spending another $820 billion - on top of the already $700+ billion that was approved right before Bush fled office. Can we please elect some people who are familiar with the basic concepts of addition and subtraction?

Re:Imagine... (2, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665347)

But does it run Vista?

Re:Imagine... (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665405)

But does it run Vista?

For $10, they can't even afford to put the Vista sticker on these things.

Which, by the way, is a plus. I just bought my daughter a new laptop, and they put more stickers on that thing than Dale Jr's NASCAR ride.

The really nasty thing is that not all of the stickers come off, either. A couple of them I was able to remove cleanly, but the one advertising the processor, and of course the "Vista fer Sure!" sticker seemed pretty immutable.

Hell fire, I'll take half a dozen of those sawbuck laptops right now if they just leave the friggin' stickers off.

Re:Imagine... (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665689)

I'm with you, ever tried to get the "local dealership" sticker from your brand new car? And if you don't do it immediately, the UV will cause the glue to harden beyond repair. Another reason not to "buy from the lot".

Re:Imagine... (5, Interesting)

aonaran (15651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665841)

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.

Re:Imagine... (3, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665901)

Hell fire, I'll take half a dozen of those sawbuck laptops right now if they just leave the friggin' stickers off.

Wow, a promise of a $60 investment! ;D

I hope they succeed. (3, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:I hope they succeed. (5, Insightful)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665167)

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.

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.

Re:I hope they succeed. (4, Informative)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665381)

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Laptop_per_Child#Summary_of_laptop_orders [wikipedia.org] and according to a recent written interview with Negroponte, they're about to deploy the 1,000,000th unit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Laptop_per_Child#Summary_of_laptop_orders [wikipedia.org] --- 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.

Re:I hope they succeed. (2, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665433)

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

Re:I hope they succeed. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665441)

Simple. I, as a consumer in the U.S., couldn't simply buy one. I had to use the Buy-one, Give-one program. A much better program would be to let anyone buy them, in any amount without doubling the price. If it was a hit in the retail market, the price would have come down.

It failed before it started.

Re:I hope they succeed. (5, Insightful)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665495)

The G1G1 _doubled_ the price of the laptop for a lone purchaser thus putting it closer to the range of a standard cheap notebook for the average purchaser. This alone was enough to push people away from purchasing it for their own use.

If he had just let people buy them in single units for the stated original cost he would have considerably more money to produce more units and would have likely hit that one million unit mark much much sooner.

He also started the G1G1 program only AFTER people complained they couldn't buy one for themselves. Furthermore he STOPPED the program instead of just letting it run and gaining whatever money he could get out of it.

As for citations do your own damn research - the rest of us have been watching this train wreck since it started.

Re:I hope they succeed. (3, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665911)

Not to mention:

1) people don't like to be forced into things - so forcing them to effectively buy 2 and give one away I'm sure didn't sit well with most people.

2) Browsing the web and email etc is fine... but his whole purpose was to help education in developing countries... but from what I've seen there wasn't really much benefit for people in developing countries besides being able to research stuff online... Perhaps it would have fared better if it came with free e-textbooks or had lessons and quizes and translations of different books built in so that it was obvious what the real benefits where.

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665397)

It didn't succeed because Negroponte wouldn't let anyone who wanted one buy it.

Wouldn't or couldn't? I still wonder if they really got the price point right in parts and manufacturing. Maybe it wasn't getting the power and functionality but all the durability issues that caused the profit loss. So they could afford to take the loss as long as the massive consumer machine of the big countries didn't come crashing in.

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665591)

It didn't succeed because Negroponte wouldn't let anyone who wanted one buy it.

Wouldn't or couldn't? I still wonder if they really got the price point right in parts and manufacturing. Maybe it wasn't getting the power and functionality but all the durability issues that caused the profit loss. So they could afford to take the loss as long as the massive consumer machine of the big countries didn't come crashing in.

Possible but if he had generated more cash by allowing the average person to buy one at the regular price it probably wouldn't have been an issue.

Re:I hope they succeed. (3, Interesting)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:I hope they succeed. (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665171)

I don't see why Negroponte's OLPC project didn't succeed before.

Politics/idealism, related to "economies of scale don't work that way".

Re:I hope they succeed. (-1, Flamebait)

zigurat667 (1380959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665179)

Who would have thought 3rd-world countries have more pressing issues than getting everyone a laptop...

Re:I hope they succeed. (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665431)

You think India is "third world"?

Let me guess, you're an American, right?

Re:I hope they succeed. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665547)

Let me guess, you've never been to India. Sure, there are places that are modern and very livable, but you also have many areas with slum conditions unimaginable in Western Europe and North America.

Have you ever seen a river of shit and waste with a plank over it leading to someone's home?

Re:I hope they succeed. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665657)

Let me guess, you've never been to Louisiana post Katrina?

Re:I hope they succeed. (1, Informative)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665917)

Nice try, lousy choice of Country.

As a Sri Lankan myself, I can say there is a lot of bad crap going on there, before during and after the tsunami.

Re:I hope they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665679)

Have you ever seen a river of shit and waste with a plank over it leading to someone's home?

Yes, Katrina images have been broadcast throughout the world.

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665615)

uuu,

does Slumdog Millionaire rings any bells to you?

Re:I hope they succeed. (1, Informative)

drunkenoafoffofb3ta (1262668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665633)

I thought "third world" was outdated terminology.

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

/off to read the Guardian newspaper

Re:I hope they succeed. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665891)

I thought "third world" was outdated terminology.

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

I'm sure "non-viable markets" is the modern, Mac terminology.

Re:I hope they succeed. (2, Interesting)

asdir (1195869) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:I hope they succeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665775)

Let me take a guess. As the other person mentioned you've either never been to India ("real" India, not just a big city) or you are from India and trying to stick up for your shithole?

By every account India is a Third World country. Just Google "Third World" you moran.

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665821)

Was India Eastern Block or Western then (if not third world it must have been 1).

Interestingly the 1st world also has priorities higher than getting everyone a laptop (proven by the fact that many don't have laptops in the 1st world, and it largely goes ignored).

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665931)

You think India is "third world"?

Let me guess, you're an American, right?

So what is it? Fourth? Fifth? With nearly a third of its population living in poverty, I'd hope they're still developing.

Re:I hope they succeed. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665377)

The problem is there is a limit to things like how small/low res you can make the screen and still have something people would consider a laptop, netbooks are getting pretty close to that limit IMO. You may be able to skimp a bit on the processor but really how much cheaper is what OLPC was using than the celerons in the cheap netbooks.

Plus they were trying to make the thing very rugged and child-proof.

But IMO the most important issue was by refusing to release it on the general market (except as part of G1G1 which was a rather expensive way to get a machine) they stopped themselves from ever building up the volume needed to produce the things at a low price. Electronics manufacturing has HUGE economies of scale.

Re:I hope they succeed. (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665649)

because you know nothing abotu the OLPC project.

your netbook is a toy that if dropped once in the sand or mud it will be dead.

the OLPC is a cheap panasonic toughbook. the OLPC is designed to survive in 3rd world conditions Operate from 0% humidity to 100% humidity in 120 degree heat.

Your netbook is a child's toy compared to what the OLPC was supposed to be. It's like how the top of the line Alienware or Dell XPS is a complete joke to a Toughbook 30.

and it's why a toughbook 30 is $5800.00 for lessthan 1/2 the processing power of the Alienware laptop.

OLPC = toughbook netbook. They cost more plus they dont want to force all cultures to learn english to use it. Unlike all netbooks.

2 watts! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665155)

Great scott! The only thing capable of generating 2 watts is a battery.

Re:2 watts! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665177)

Guess it won't have enough power to hit 88.5 MPH, then huh?

Critical thinking anyone? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665159)

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.

A little critical thinking here: How, exactly, would anyone build that for $10? How much is the cheapest of cheap WiFi adapters at retail? $30? $20? Okay, now how thin are those margins?

I just don't see how they can pull all that off for $10.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665221)

You can buy (in bulk) SOCs with cpu, wifi, and lan for less than that retail wifi adapter. But at a $10 price point, I'm thinking more graphing calculator than laptop.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (2, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665351)

That is a cheap graphing calculator!

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665409)

well, they can save money by insourcing the software development...

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665497)

I was thinking Etch-A-Sketch, and second hand at that.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665245)

They could if they integrated as much as possible onto one chip. Probably not a coincidence that India is home to many chip layout services. It would be dead easy for them to set up a fabless IC manufacturer, producing "laptops on a chip".

One of the biggest costs will be the screen. I guess they might be able to do it for $10 if they use 1.8" screen or similar. In that case the computer will look like a 1990s mobile phone.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665349)

Also... dump the Wi-Fi and LAN and have them as external USB-plug-able devices.
No hard drive - use SD cards instead. At under $1 per GB - small extra cost.
Use existing batteries - like rechargeable AA or mobile phone batteries for power supply.
No packaging.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665529)

No packaging.

And Lord, please don't forget, NO STICKERS

Ignore IP licensing and engineering costs (5, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665385)

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.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665417)

I just don't see how they can pull all that off for $10.

TFA sure doesn't shed any light on that question. I suppose you can sell laptops at any price you want, as long as you don't care about breaking even.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665483)

The margins are pretty fat, and the Wifi chip maybe accounts for half the parts in that wifi adapter, then there's tooling and development costs to be amortized on top of that before the margins start kicking in, but still, $10 would have to be without a display and using a fairly low spec ARM or similar processor (which would also be required for the 2W power drain), with 0Mb of that expandable memory in the base system.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665515)

I just don't see how they can pull all that off for $10.

I bet the guys that built the ENIAC were thinking, "They'll never fit anything THAT powerful in a suitcase" too.

"And it's foolish to even THINK that you'd be able to buy anything as powerful as ENIAC at Wal-Mart for under $300" were their very next words.

[Yes, I'm aware that there was no Wal-Mart in 1946. That's why they call it "hyperbole" - P.R.]

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665559)

1) Get everything on one chip. The difference between cost of production of a CPU chip vs a CPU + a dozen periferials are marginal. And then you save on motherboards, adapters, communication etc.
2) Retail takes some 50% cut. Other middlemen, another 30%. The actual cost of production is like 5-10% of the retail price. I've seen your $10 USB hubs I've bought for 3PLN (that is $1) in retail in Poland. That is including tax, shipping to Polish retailer, and a bunch of other fees after they left the hands of the manufacturer. So, yes, the margins are ENORMOUS.
3) Development is half or more of the actual cost of the device. If the development is 100% government funded, and you pay only for your physical copy of the laptop, not for license to all the firmware and hardware design, the cost goes down by a huge margin.
4) They have all the technology. Intel, NVidia, LG, whatever brand name you mention, they likely have their factories in India. And the government may simply declare any NDA null and void by fiat, hire their employees, and have them re-create whatever they had made at their original employees. Not saying this will certainly happen, but it's not impossible - all the licensing, sublicensing, sub-sublicensing costs for all the little parts, protocols, interfaces, patents and so on, are another HUGE chunk of the cost. And if it's not a direct copy, but a rewrite, and all hidden inside one dedicated chip, who is ever going to find out?

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665743)

And what makes you think those $1 USB hubs aren't Chinese knockoffs?

It's gotta be a calculator (1)

That_Dan_Guy (589967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665601)

Somebody must be getting a computer and a calculator mixed up.

Would make a certain amount of sense. Somebody wants to get lots of free advertising, so they make a fancy calculator and say it's a computer.

Who knows, maybe I'm even right.

(Okay, after RTFA it's the Gov't looking for free publicity and votes).

I suppose we'll see Feb 3rd.

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (0, Flamebait)

Leonidas89 (1354713) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665725)

The answer is simple. Good genious people that wants to make a better world do exist (In India, not in America)

Re:Critical thinking anyone? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665927)

Very simple answer, I commend you for the thought you've put in to obtaining and sharing this answer with us. It's a good thing those genious[sic] people in the US are just a bunch of greedy capitalistic fat cats and would never do anything to improve the world.

Gentlemen! I present you: The Electric Abacus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665909)

I'm picturing an abacus with 2 watts worth of LEDs, and a cup with a string.

For wireless data transmission: just yell, or glance at your neighbor's abacus.

From TFA - $20 actually (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665161)

But they hope for a lower price with mass production.

"At this stage, the price is working out to be $20 but with mass production it is bound to come down," R P Agarwal, secretary, higher education said.

Meanwhile, this laptop [amazon.com] is still priced at $12.25.

Re:From TFA - $20 actually (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665197)

And it's still made in the USA!

Re:From TFA - $20 actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665419)

I was surprised that something is still made in the USA. And it no longer is:

Etch A Sketch moves to Shenzhen, China. [nytimes.com]

Re:From TFA - $20 actually (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665733)

Damn. Way to burst my bubble.

Re:From TFA - $20 actually (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665661)

Ha, very little is "Made in the USA" anymore. Between Walmart pressuring companies to move their manufacturing to China (it's very hard to get them to even do business with you if you tell them your stuff is made in the U.S.), the burgeoning Chinese economy, and recent trade deals; I'm actually surprised anymore when I hear that a manufacturing plant is closing (as I thought they all pretty much already *had* closed). It seems like the only thing that's still made here are cars (even Toyota, BMW, etc. have car plants here). But that's only because China hasn't gotten big into car manufacturing yet ("yet" being the operative word).

Re:From TFA - $20 actually (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665751)

Are you serious? The manufacturing that's done in China is for cheap consumer goods, heavy manufacturing is still done in the US.

Where do you think they make the Lithrogaphy machines, CNC machining centers, etc...?

Re:From TFA - $20 actually (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665829)

China is getting ready to build cars in Mexico to sell to the US. If we ditched NAFTA (heh heh) they'd probably have to make them here to be profitable.

For the non-Indians... (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665163)

crore = 10 million
lakh = 100,000

As for the article's statement that "In this context, government would give Rs 2.5 lakh per institution for 10 Kbps connection and subsidise 25% of costs for private and state government colleges," I think this is probably a misprint.

Power core... (1)

Ferret96 (1293480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665187)

The laptops are actually going to be old cell phones with a pretty laptop-y cases around them...

A great hope for India (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665199)

Using cheap local labor in order to strengthen the local education is a very good move, both industrially and PR-wise. If they manage to mass-produce it, they will probably be able to sell the same machines for 20$ or 30$ abroad. It could give them a foot in a field that is China's stronghold. And I, for one, would prefer to see India (World's first democracy) to be labeled the World Factory than the People's Republic of China.

Re:A great hope for India (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665513)

Might also help with political stability, if you know about science, technology and reason its a lot harder to go round killing innocent people.

Re:A great hope for India (0, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665623)

Tell that to the Germans. There's nothing about education that fundamentally creates less murderous people.

Re:A great hope for India (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665747)

Not really...
If the government is powerful enough, and makes the population feel that they are not powerless (even if they are), then those in power can go around doing pretty much anything they want, and cover it all up so people never find out, and if a small number of people do find out they can easily be branded insane and locked up.

Subscription for 47 years (1)

messner_007 (1042060) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665215)

It is true, it costs only 10 bugs, but you have to stay subscribed for something for next 47 years ...

Re:Subscription for 47 years (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665273)

Only 10 bugs huh? So I can just give them one copy of Vista and then I should be set for the next century.

I Smell Crap (2, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665223)

Forgive me but how reliable could such a cheap product be? I am willing to suspend disbelief but this sounds like good old fashioned BS.

Re:I Smell Crap (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665375)

5 years ago a cell phone like the one i have cost 150 bucks

I lost my brick recently and bought this one for a whopping 10 bucks.

I pay almost as much for fast food.

That, of course, is US retail, which means it should cost 3 in developing nations and still make companies a profit.

Re:I Smell Crap (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665461)

Uhh... You realize cell phones are subsidized by the service provider?

Re:I Smell Crap (1)

Dansteeleuk (967617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665579)

I guess laptops could be too. In fact it's a growing trend in the UK. Buy this service plan! Free laptop, okay, it's usually a netbook, but not always...

Re:I Smell Crap (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665589)

There is a $37 phone from Motorola. If you only care about speaking, it could be a nice idea.

http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Motofone-F3-Unlocked-Phone-International/dp/B0013A7KMW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=wireless&qid=1233324126&sr=1-3 [amazon.com]

and here is a Nokia, for $39 which I actually seen/used one

http://www.amazon.com/Nokia-2610-Unlocked-Phone-U-S-Warranty/dp/B000K8IAS6/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=wireless&qid=1233324203&sr=1-5 [amazon.com]

will feature Wi-Fi, LAN, and expandable memory... (1)

Rikiji7 (1182159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665231)

...and will feature an Intel QuadCore for a retail price of 10$. Of course.

Ridiculous price (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665283)

Am I the only one that finds a $20 price-tag utterly ridiculous?

Even if you use a TV for output, the SoC with wi-fi, cell-phone-style power supply, a keyboard and a GB of RAM cannot go for less than $20 and will not go for 2 watts.

This is seriously wrong and, when I see a government official making such lunatic claims, I expect the people being ripped off.

Re:Ridiculous price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665395)

At $20 bucks, it's more of an embedded device(pda without the touchscreen?) then a labtop. It's a misuse of the term labtop.

Re:Ridiculous price (3, Funny)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665729)

It's a misuse of the term labtop.

I really don't know how they could have misused that term.

Re:Ridiculous price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665545)

I just bought a dvd player with remote control and the abilty to play divx from usb. £14. it uses more than 2W when playing dvds.

Where is China's innovation? (1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665293)

I thought China would do this before India because all I see around is stuff with the label "Made in China." I hear they (the Chinese), even made an iphone rip-off [popsci.com] , but I have not seen it anywhere! So where is China's innovation?

Re:Where is China's innovation? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665473)

all I see around is stuff with the label "Made in China."

Yes, but the stuff made in China is generally designed in Europe or America. That will change, but it will take a few decades. Japan was building cheap knock-off products through the 1950's and '60's, and didn't begin to really rival U.S. design and engineering until the '80's. If China follows the same path then we're about 10-15 year away from quality products designed in China.

Re:Where is China's innovation? (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665501)

China does not have innovation. Unlike Japan, China does not feel the need to rise above simply copying stuff poorly and selling the resulting product for less than the original.

And frankly, to me it seems their strategy is paying off.

Re:Where is China's innovation? (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665581)

China does not have innovation. Unlike Japan,

      Perhaps if you were just a little older, you would remember when all Japan could do was copy Western technology. However today Japan can innovate. Give China another 30 years, and then watch out!

Re:Where is China's innovation? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665527)

technology like this is too dangerous to the PRC.

Re:Where is China's innovation? (5, Interesting)

nbharatvarma (784546) | more than 5 years ago | (#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. :)

Re:Where is China's innovation? (1)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665807)

There is some Chinese innovation, but most of it is in tooling and manufacturing technology, which if you think about it is their main area of experience. In fact, much of the product design innovation over the past few years that Western engineers have been able to devise have directly exploited new Chinese materials and manufacturing techniques. But being innovative when it comes to the actual product design is greatly helped by a consumer culture, which is a very very infant concept in the PRC.

Leverage a MP3 player (2, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665457)

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

Who will do the tech support? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665463)

Who can they outsource?

price a big mac in india? about 5 cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665479)

but where da beef?

o'course it don't include no beef

indians dont eat beef bozo

Pre-order gift (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665489)

Included will be a voucher for your trial version of Duke Nukem Forever.

Also, a calendar going up to 2050 specifying exactly the year of "Linux on the Desktop."

Well look at that... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665503)

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."

Not only will it be able to play doom/quake/unreal, but it will come with a pony too!

And just like anything else out of India... (2, Insightful)

lightningrod220 (705243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665595)

the quality will be laughable. Like I always say: cheap, quality, expandable: pick two.

Re:And just like anything else out of India... (1, Interesting)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665761)

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.

SmartPhone? (1)

normanjd (1290602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665659)

Sounds a lot like a smart phone... Load Android and your done...

Runs under Ninnle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665863)

This laptop would not be possible if not for the work of Ninnle Labs, who created a slimmed down version of Ninnle Linux, with NinWM as the window manager. Should work fine.

Bill of Materials not $10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665869)

I guess this differs slightly from the OLPC project, in that the laptop is only for distribution in India and that the MHRD (a.k.a Indian government ministry) is planning to play sugar daddy to this project "for perpetuity" to maintain the price at $10 (Which again no-one will pay, but will just be deducted off the grant to the participating government funded schools - I guess!!). Interestingly there is no mention of a display anywhere and the Bill of materials seems closer to $47 http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199203891 [informationweek.com]

Oh, huh. (3, Funny)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26665905)

The sheer hubris of this announcement made me wonder: When did M. Night Shyamalan start making computers?

3. Profit??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665925)

The only way to make any profit with a 10$ notebook is to preinstall shitloads of adware, trial software and other stuff that tries to nag more money out of the user. On a low performance machine, there won't be a lot of memory/clock cycles left to do anything useful.
When this thing hits the market, it'll probably deliver the most annoying user experience in history.

Re: 10$ laptop with 2GB RAM ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26665939)

> A $10 laptop (Rs 500) prototype, with 2 GB RAM capacity....

Honestly 2GB ? If its DDR2, I might as well buy the "laptop" , chuck everything else and use the RAM. Its rather weird how it can be this inexpensive. I'm not sure if India has proper semi-conductor fabs, to make components this cheap - and what about licensing and stuff ?

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