As the iPad goes on sale in Ireland today at a cost of between €499 and €799, the Indian government has unveiled its own touchscreen computer which costs less than €30.
While the name of the device has yet to be officially announced, it is believed to be called the ‘Sakshat’.
Developed by Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science in campuses across the country, the new laptop is designed for third-level students and comes with internet browsers, a PDF reader and video-conferencing facilities, as well as a USB port and a built-in keyboard. It runs on the open-source Linux operating system, comes with 2GB of ram and supports Wi-Fi.
“We have reached a stage that today, the motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35 (€27), including memory, display, everything,” says India’s Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal. “Initially, we will produce 1 million such computers for students in higher education, and the capacity will be enhanced subsequently.” He also added that the Indian government is in talks with global manufacturers to start mass production.
Students will have access to the laptops from 2011, but they may want to hold off, as the HRD plans to drop the price even further, to less than €10.