Laptop for 10 Dollars

February 3, 2009

A year after Tata unveiled the $2000 car, we now have the $10 laptop. This laptop, christened Sakshat (literally, in front of your eyes) is undergoing development by various organizations including technology biggies Indian Institute of Science (IISC) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.

The ‘world’s cheapest laptop’, developed in India, was unveiled by Union Minister for Human Resources Development Arjun Singh at the Tirupati temple on Tuesday evening. The laptop, jointly developed by several organisations, such as the University Grants Commission, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, will be priced at around $10 to $20 (about Rs 500 to Rs 1,000), officials said.[link]

The Cambridge foundation that vowed to deliver a $100 laptop is about to get some competition. The Indian government will today unveil a prototype laptop that officials say can be produced for as little as $20.[link]

To put this in perspective, a decent laptop can be had for about $500 in the US. For a high end laptop, the price can go above a thousand dollars. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation has been working on a $100 laptop intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, but have managed to get to about $200 per laptop.

To everybody around the world, including me, the $10 seems too good to be true. What kind of laptop do you build for the cost of a movie ticket? Actually even less than a movie ticket, which costs about $12 a pop here in Newyork.

From the rediff report:

The laptop has 2 GB onboard memory with wireless Internet connectivity. To make it useful for the students, especially in the rural areas, the scientists have made it low power consuming gadget.

The price seems ridiculously low. My guess is there’s no hard disk, just physical memory. Some more guesses – There’s no CD drive. There’s no USB. The display must be very low resolution.

What this laptop definitely does not have: A quad core Intel proessor, A blu ray disc drive. A high power Nvidia GeForce video card. A 15 inch super glossy display. Bluetooth. Windows (that would be many times the projected price of the laptop)

So we probably have a low power processor running on Linux in a memory only architecture, with a cheap display and no addons such as disk drives or USB/Firewire connections. Doesnt sound like a fun machine, but might be a good start to take computing to all corners of the country. Lets just hope this machine actually works!

Way to go, India.

What’s next? A $20 personal robot to protect hapless women from crazy fanatics?

UPDATE: It sure is a lap top – a device that is small enough to sit on your lap. But not quite a notebook computer[link]

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18 Responses to “ Laptop for 10 Dollars ”

  1. Dinesh on February 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Yup, that will be awesome when they release that. It will be like a little internet notebook or a netbook with no other frills and it will be very interesting. But i think that the $20 robot will sell like hot cakes in Mangalore.

  2. Solilo on February 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    “A $20 personal robot to protect hapless women from crazy fanatics?”

    My vote for that.

  3. Poonam on February 4, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Yeah, exactly, its not a laptop. I have read the newspiece in some tabloid, who clearly mentioned that this losw-cost device was being developed so that HRD ministry could make a foray into e-learning. Something that is untapped in Indian. There are several instructional designers (training designers in layman’s term) who currently take on assignments for corporates and universities abroad, but not for India. I know, because I happen to be an instructional designer.

    Yeah, a robot for women would be handy!

  4. ruSh.Me on February 4, 2009 at 12:19 am

    2 GB onboard memory!!

    2 GB se mere kya hoga??? Mera resume 1 GB ka hai!! :P

    but on a more serious note.. Students in Rural (and some urban areas too…) might make some good use of this machine.. As long as, they don’t misuse the “WIRELESS INTERNET CONNECTIVITY”

  5. Chirag on February 4, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Nicholas Negroponte is about to be inspired again, may be both can tie up. 2 GB is actyllu way more that enough for students.

    @Tirupati temple on Tuesday evening: This is kind of Funny

    @A $20 personal robot to protect hapless women from crazy fanatics?
    This is highly likely ;)

  6. Oorja on February 4, 2009 at 2:38 am

    if it is real.. be it very poor in quality, it’ll still be great for people who don’t even get notebooks (made of paper) to study. it’ll be a revolution in rural areas if used properly.. if our politicians let that happen without scams..

  7. amit on February 4, 2009 at 9:08 am

    //A $20 personal robot to protect hapless women from crazy fanatics?
    :lol: That was a masterpiece!
    The laptop must be something very basic but it seems to be a good step. Hope it gets utilized properly.

  8. amreekandesi on February 4, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for all the comments. One thing is for sure – everybody liked the robot idea.

    Now lets find someone to actually implement it!

  9. Shefaly on February 5, 2009 at 1:49 am

    The iPhone BOM was in the public domain within days of the first launch. For this laptop, no such luck.

    Considering nobody has even seen the specs, let alone the BOM, all pronouncements – gushing good or baying-for-blood bad – are speculative. But well the web does specialise in the speculative, doesn’t it? :-)

  10. Shivya on February 6, 2009 at 3:05 am

    So it’s not a laptop after all?! I was blown away by the concept of a 10$ laptop for exactly 2 minutes. Someday maybe!

  11. amreekandesi on February 15, 2009 at 2:29 am

    @Shivya – Someday for sure!

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  13. jewel on August 6, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Sounds great. Would be glad to see some pictures of that $10 laptop.

  14. cheap laptop on March 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

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  16. India Darter on August 13, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Hello, excellant post.

  17. cheap laptops deals on September 1, 2010 at 9:31 pm


    Laptop for 10$.

    Is this real?

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  18. Charlyn Lauver on September 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm

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