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Indian Company Shows Off Sub-$200 Laptop 318

Posted by timothy
from the progress-toward-the-negroponte-device dept.
geo_2677 writes "The Indian company which came out with the Simputer has now come with a PC which cost roughly INR 10,000; that's just about US $200. The project was backed by the Indian government R&D department Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)." Geo2677 points out an article on the low-cost computer at hinduonline.net and another at the Times of India, and writes "The new PC is Linux-based and has office applications, a browser and audio/video capabilities. With a keyboard that can be rolled up, it looks pretty sleek. A U.S. company is already using it in pilot projects, and many more have shown interest. The Indian government hopes that this will push the PC revolution to the masses. It aimed for home users and small businesses/shops. The PC penetration in India is very low, at a measly 13 million, due to the high costs involved."
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Indian Company Shows Off Sub-$200 Laptop

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  • hmmm.... piracy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I like how they call it "Linux based", yet in the photo its clearly Windows XP running on it... wodner what percentage will remain linux based.
    • Re:hmmm.... piracy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stevyn (691306)
      Which picture show it "clearly running" windows? The one mentioned in the article doesn't even have a hard drive. These look more like large PDAs to me than what we regularly think a laptop is. But if it works and people can afford it, I hope it goes well.
      • I'll be importing them.

      • I think he's referring to the blurry spotty picture on the first link. It's on, so clearly it runs Windows.
      • Re:hmmm.... piracy (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NanoGator (522640)
        "Which picture show it "clearly running" windows?"

        The first link shows a guy holding up a machine with a blue taskbar. However, it doesn't APPEAR* to have the telltale green splotch on it that says "START" on it.

        * I said 'appear' because there's nothing 'clear' about what OS that machine is running. Heck, it's hard to tell from the photo that these things have built in speakers.
        • Well, what do you expect from the guy that also invented the fifty-cent camera? I guess they're too popular for his own good. Hell, I've seen better color representation from a watercolor picture left out in the rain.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:54AM (#12498236)
    The PC penetration in India is very low

    That's because it hurts a lot.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:55AM (#12498242) Homepage
    It will have no hard disk but will have built-in memory and facility to plug in memory cards for any storage over and above that provided for in the built-in memory. It will not have games. High-speed computing is ruled out. The reasoning is that "while adding to the cost, these are of no use to many users.''

    The one link is slashdotted already and the other doesn't say how much memory it has built-in. Yeah, it's sub-$200 until you realize that you have to pay another $150+ for a decent sized memory "stick" (or two or three).
    • by GweeDo (127172) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:57AM (#12498258) Homepage
      "but will have built-in memory"

      More than likely it has some built in CF memory or something like that. Even if it is only 512MB...for Word docs and web browsing how much do you need? I would bet the apps are in some form of flash memory or something (similar to a PDA) so no worries there.
      • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:01AM (#12498305) Homepage
        Even if it is only 512MB...for Word docs and web browsing how much do you need?

        Well, if you had read the non-slashdotted article:

        Vinay L. Deshpande, chairman and chief executive officer of Encore Software, told a press conference the system would have the essential features of a conventional personal computer: everyday applications such as word processing, spreadsheet, personal information manager, e-mail and web-browser. It will play music and movies, have text-to-speech conversion facility and built-in local-language support.

        Movies and music on 512MB? Get serious. As I said, you will likely be shelling out 150+ for memory. I found it VERY suspicious that they were touting the price when they aren't including any storage space.

        $199 doesn't impress me with slow specs and no storage.
        • by GweeDo (127172) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:05AM (#12498344) Homepage
          While 512MB isn't gonna work for movies, it is fine for music. I have a 512MB iPod Shuffle and love it. For features like that they probably intend for you to sync it with a desktop.

          If you are someone with NO computer at all in India right now do you really think no movie/music support is the end of the world?
          • by garcia (6573) *
            If you are someone with NO computer at all in India right now do you really think no movie/music support is the end of the world?

            Then why tout it as a feature and not mention the built-in storage while praising the fact that it is under the $200 pricepoint.
            • the machine is capable of doing the job. here in the US I can get a IDE to USB2.0 with both full size and laptop disk connectors for $30. It has a power supply that, with the proper cable and/or adapter, will work basically anywhere in the world.

              If you need those features, if you need storage, you can add storage very cheaply. Most people won't. they can use web services for almost everyithing they do.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            It is worth pointing out that you can stream movies without much hard drive space at all. That means you could play a DVD/VCD, or you could watch streaming media on the internet. You just couldn't save large movies on the hard drive.
            • by Anonymous Coward
              Please remember we are talking about India here. Their broadband penetration is low, their analog service sucks, and many people share those crappy analog lines between multiple computers.
              • Mod Parent UP (Score:2, Insightful)

                by alc6379 (832389)
                I know many don't like wasting their mod points on AC's, but the parent is dead-on. I'm sure that this new computer isn't going to be marketed toward the MP3-jamming, DVD-viewing set. TFA states its target audience:

                The main aim, Mr. Deshpande said, was to develop a system that was affordable and provided the essential features, "without the unnecessary fluff of the conventional systems.'' The target audience is households, small shops, professionals such as lawyers and chartered accountants, and field sta

        • $199 doesn't impress me with slow specs and no storage.

          Does it let me browse the Internet? Yes.
          Does it run linux? Yes.
          Does it have a good battery life? Yes.
          Is it cheap? Yes.
          Is it portable? Yes.
          Do 1Gb USB keys cost next to nothing? Yes.

          I'd snatch one up at the first chance I got.

          My AthlonXP 1700 desktop is 84% idle with a load average of 0.36 0.39 0.40, I dont think I'd have a problem if this thing was 100-200Mhz to be honest. Oh, I'm currently running Overnet (edonkey2k), Konqueror, XMMS playing MP3s, A
    • Give me a break.

      The first hard disk we had was 20 MB, and it was huge when you consider only a few executables and text files. Granted, we ran Stacker on it to compress the contents and approximately double the capacity.

      When my brother went to university, he replaced his 40 MB disk with a 560 MB; unfortunately, his BIOS only supported 512 MB, so his new disk wasted more space than the old disk had available.

      We had a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing program, and so on with only a 20 MB drive. Heck,

    • Or it is set up for network computing.
      Does it have wireless or a network port?
      If you are going to have high speed networks in at least the urban areas you could use a network based storage system. With wireless you could have what would amount to a HUGE hard drive at all times.
      I want want to hack.
      I just hope it comes with bluetooth so I can use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it.
      Might make a cool car computer as well..
    • The article available at the attached URL indicates that the memory size is 128MB. The point is that AT THE PRESENT TIME, the low-income segment of the population has no easy way to acquire a computer or, after acquiring it, pay for maintenance, power, and upgrades. So a sturdy, no-frills machine is best. As time goes by, their needs will rise and the cost of technology will drop and there will still be a happy intersection of these two graphs. Think of TV: in the 1970s Indians were introduced to black-and-
    • This is India. The technology has to be cheap in order to sell. That means cheap memory as well. Besides it supports USB2, put your data on a flash drive.

  • interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tont0r (868535) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:56AM (#12498248)
    after watching a few "internet PC's" drop off the face of the earth due to the fact that it was $300 and all it did was internet, it would be interesting to see how well this actual PC would end up doing. $200 for basically something that can do work processing, internet, music?(not sure since they didnt specify what they mean by audio...) but still. thats a hell of a deal. and big surprise.. it came from india :).
    • Re:interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by harrkev (623093) <kfmsd.harrelsonfamily@org> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:01AM (#12498307) Homepage
      If history is any indicator, this will bomb. I have seen more than a few "sub-(one/two/three)-hundred-dollar" systems. They are eventually built, greeted with millions of yawns, and soon disappear. What makes this one any different?
      • Re:interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If history is any indicator, a mainstream DELL Wintel PC will be "sub-$300" within a year or two.
        • Re:interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

          by generic-man (33649)
          It's there. I own one. Dell Dimension 2400 cost me $300 with a DVD-ROM drive, 40 GB HD, some kind of Celeron, 64 MB graphics card (not shared mem), and 256 MB RAM.

          They only include a 90-day warranty, but upgrading it to two years cost me $120 minus $50 rebate.
          • 64 MB graphics card (not shared mem)

            Where did you find a $300 dimension 2400 with a real video card? The one they have for sell now is just like the one you listed above, except the video is listed as:

            Video Graphics: Integrated Intel® Extreme 3D Graphics with up to 64MB shared main memory.
            • Not to mention the 2400 series doesn't have an agp slot! Not only do I have two (one a p4 and one a celeron) but this fact can be found easily on google (many people have bought them not realising there is no agp slot).

              So if his video isn't shared (which I'm willing to bet it is) then it's onboard with soldered on memory which isn't really much of a step from shared memory (if at all).
      • Re:interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rovingeyes (575063)
        If history is any indicator, this will bomb. I have seen more than a few "sub-(one/two/three)-hundred-dollar" systems. They are eventually built, greeted with millions of yawns, and soon disappear

        That is because most of these systems, including cimputer were advertized as being useful for rural population primarily farmers. The intention is good but there are couple of problems:

        • Most rural farmers still use old methods of farming. They are not mechanized. Unless they are technically savvy, they are not
        • Most of the rural population are very "careful" with gadgets. And I know this because I am from India. They keep it covered and protected like a redneck taking care of his car (pun intented). Thus the device is not used as intented.

          Okay, I read this four times, and you might have intended a pun, but you neglected to include one. A joke perhaps. A touch of sarcasm maybe. But no puns.
          • Maybe the pun is that "redneck" could also be a derogatory word for an American Indian. Backwoods Indian indians described as rednecks? A stretch, sure, it's more likely that the GP doesn't konw what a pun is.
      • >> What makes this one any different?

        Not much, but what I saw from reading the article: The second cheapest one includes a flat screen and is _small_. The next model up has wireless capacity. Sounds like a PDA to me.

        When I can buy obsolete desktops that have hard drives etc for pretty much scrap value I don't get why this is viable.
      • Re:interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zak3056 (69287) *
        If history is any indicator, this will bomb. I have seen more than a few "sub-(one/two/three)-hundred-dollar" systems. They are eventually built, greeted with millions of yawns, and soon disappear. What makes this one any different?

        From my perspective, if you toss in an 802.11b CF card this thing makes the perfect PC for a manufacturing environment--I'd love to give one of these to every one of my shop leads so they can move around and do their jobs instead of being tied to their desks.

        Right now the sol
    • Re:interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sasquatchtree (626022)
      I don't think that you're realizing that /. is not the demographic this system is going for. You are analyzing it like it would be your home laptop or comparing it to your gaming rig. You have to compare it to null. Third world countries have nothing. For a user to be able to be mobile with a simple system in an effort to remove the line of computing from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat is something companies usually don't want to try [which is why it's a government funded program] because it doesn't
  • by DaveInAustin (549058) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:56AM (#12498250) Homepage
    The radio show Marketplace [slashdot.org] has a http://members.aol.com/adnascar/thepark.html [slashdot.org]> story about the same machine. Not much details in the story. It doesn't mention linux, but says "it doesn't do windows".
  • Interesting.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:57AM (#12498262) Homepage
    That's certainly interesting, but the screen (with a size of 7,5") really seems a bit small. I understand that you can't attach a huge screen to a laptop and still be able to charge a low price like that, but I'm not sure whether this is big enough to actually use the thing as a real computer instead of as a better PDA or cell phone.
    • Re:Interesting.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by harrkev (623093) <kfmsd.harrelsonfamily@org> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:08AM (#12498364) Homepage
      Back in my day, I remember having 640x480 and being grateful for such high-resolution graphics.

      You are spoiled by today's systems. So am I. I run 1600x1200 every day. But if you run 0x0 every day because you don't have a computer, 640x480 seems beautiful.

      Don't forget that people used to do useful work on a 80x25 mono screen without graphics. No photoshop, but good enough to word processing to drive a daisy-wheel printer. This thing is bound to be at least as powerful as a Pentium-120. And a Pentium 120 (with 24MB and a 1.2Gb HD) got me my Master's degree by running Matlab and Protel.
      • by ajnsue (773317) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:45AM (#12498746)
        Yeah - well back in my day we didn't have your fancy monitors. We just had raw leads sticking out of the back of the computer - we would stick'em on our tongues and have to interpret the output bit by bit. Sure it it hurt sometimes - sweating in pain, working a slide rule to figure out the trickier images. But thats the way real men did it. Zero's and Ones my boy - Zeros and ones
        • A 16MHz 286 running Procom and Ventura Publisher got me my engineering bachelors.
        • A 50MHz 486 with 28M of memory continues to this day to serve my email, web pages, and a bunch of other stuff.

        A P120 is overkill for a lot of applications (except recompiling a kernel).

    • The old Macintoshes had 9" monochrome CRTs (which put them well under 9" of course). They were quite usable.

      This thing seems to be more in line with the Mac [mac512.com] than a notebook or PDA. Transportable and designed for business. No HDD (stock) either :-)

      ...which of course makes me wonder why it's so hard to make a cheap, cheap computer.

    • It depends what you want it for.

      circa 3" on a PDA makes them handy, but a bit small for some tasks, and you have less choice in applications due to the OS used on most (Windows mobile).

      A 15" screen laptop is a bit too bulky for some people.

      7.5" to 10" screens fit for some people. In fact I nearly picked up a transmeta based system once on ebuyer which had about a 9" screen. It wasn't going to be powerful, but would be able to a bit more than my PDA without the weight of a bigger laptop.

      Provided t

  • by lake2112 (748837) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:58AM (#12498274)
    But how will they be able to take my job if these computers have no processing power?
  • Tandy 100 reborn? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stm2 (141831) <sbassi.genesdigitales@com> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:58AM (#12498280) Homepage Journal
    Looks a lot like the Tandy 100 [club100.org]. I still have one, last time I used was 4 years ago to take some notes abord a ship. Even if have more than 20 years, is still useful. I think this "notebooks" is conceptually based in that machine :)

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:35AM (#12498622) Journal
      It's funny you mention that old Tandy laptop, because I was thinking something similar myself!
      I don't own one of those myself, but I remember their "golden age" of popularity. A *good* number of news reporters carried one with them to write all of their articles on while traveling.

      This very well might be just what people over in India need to get into the "computer revolution". But as you've pointed out, it seems that keeping it real basic/simple is the way MOST of us got started.

      I used computers for years before ever considering the purchase of a hard drive for one of them! For a long time, I couldn't even imagine possessing enough code to need something that big to store it on! When you create a computer that has all of its basic applications and functionality built into ROM memory, you create a framework... boundaries if you will, on what that particular computer is *meant* to do. As long as you've got the "sweet spot" of what folks need to get done contained in that "framework" and the price is right, you probably have yourself a very useful little tool.
  • radio show on it (Score:3, Informative)

    by GweeDo (127172) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:00AM (#12498293) Homepage
    The Marketplace [publicradio.org] has a story online [publicradio.org] about this pc.
  • Moore's corollary? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:01AM (#12498308) Journal
    FTA: It will have no hard disk but will have built-in memory and facility to plug in memory cards for any storage over and above that provided for in the built-in memory. It will not have games. High-speed computing is ruled out. The reasoning is that "while adding to the cost, these are of no use to many users.''

    The main aim, Mr. Deshpande said, was to develop a system that was affordable and provided the essential features, "without the unnecessary fluff of the conventional systems.'' The target audience is households, small shops, professionals such as lawyers and chartered accountants, and field staff of pharmaceutical, insurance and other industries. It could be used as e-book readers by educational institutions, for telemedicine and as a nurse's aide.

    Well, this doesn't look much like a market for Microsoft to play in. I wonder how long it will be before the intended users want to play games, or run Excel? Something tells me that it will be day zero.
    • run Excel? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eminence (225397)
      run Excel?

      Why should they want to? You assume that they need Excel because it's your point of reference and de-facto standard in the US. But this cheap device is aimed at people who don't have a computer now, clearly even a slow comp is way better than none. Consequently, any spreadsheet is better than counting on a sheet of paper and that's the alternative for the target users of these devices.

    • I wonder how long it will be before the intended users want to play games, or run Excel?

      Well, I started using computers in the late 80's. But it wasn't until mid-90s that I really saw computers take off with average Joe. So as I see it, the more people get used to the idea of computers and how it can be useful for them, the more they will look at the idea of doing more with it. Besides if your friend has a cool gadget that can let you do do such and such things you want one too. So its just a matter of wid

    • Well, look at it this way: stuff like this happened from day zero. Computing power keeps increasing up to a point where there is a viable market for something less powerful but cheaper or smaller.

      That's how we got, for example, mini-computers and then micro-computers.

      Each of those was awfully under-powered when they appeared. E.g., early minis were _very_ under-powered. Don't think "DEC Vax", think 8 or 12 bit machines that had all the computing power of a C64 or less. E.g., the original IBM PC was a pret
  • their website here: (Score:4, Informative)

    by t0mhannen (719829) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:01AM (#12498311)
    http://www.ncoretech.com/mobilis/index.html [ncoretech.com] with pics and info
  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:03AM (#12498322) Homepage Journal
    Can you imagine the American version of this? There would be two versions; free + 24.95/month for internet service or the Premium version $400 + 99.95 month including phone, iTunes and a hundred other things you don't need.

    India will eat our lunch because they stay focused on the goal instead of stupid glittery Paris Hilton tech like we do.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:04AM (#12498331)
    A very basic computer needs very little memory. I've got some older machines that are more than functional (for basic office work) that have only 16 MB of RAM and 200 MB of disk space. They're fine for word processing, spreadsheets, small databases, and email. I can even use the web, although the high level of graphics and gratuitous formatting on many websites makes it a slow experience.

    Just because new machines need 1 GB RAM and 60 GB HDs, doesn't mean you can do anything with 1/10 or even 1/100 of the memory of a modern PC.
    • I've got a Mac SE/30 in my closet. That's a 16MHz 68030 processor with 1MB RAM and 40MB HD. It runs Word 5.1 (the best version of word, IMHO) impeccably. It's even quite snappy at what it does.

      A 68030 system with the above specs can surely be built for less than 50$. As a web terminal it's decent (albeit not so quick) but the 68K line is much faster now than it was 16 years ago. A sub-200$ laptop is a real possibility in the hardware department, all we need are coders willing to take the time to optimize
  • by hey (83763) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:07AM (#12498359) Journal
    One article says it has "built-in memory".
    Now that's something! What's next? Computer
    with CPUs and keyboards!
    • We already have the Mac Mini, a computer that includes neither a keyboard nor a mouse yet sells for $200 more than comparable (albeit larger) PCs that include both. You can spin anything nowadays.
  • by jamesl (106902)
    This device should be compared to a PDA, not a PC. Lets come back in a year or so and see how many they've actually sold.
  • by mattmentecky (799199) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:08AM (#12498362)
    First off, not to nitpick but the title of the article is misleading. The laptop is not sub-$200, 10,000INR is $230 http://www.xe.com/ucc/ [xe.com]

    The PC penetration in India is very low, at a measly 13 million, due to the high costs involved

    Although a $230 laptop is great for people in developed nations unfortunately it is still in the realm of high cost for someone in India.

    http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ us.html [cia.gov]
    The GDP per capita in America - $40,000

    http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ in.html [cia.gov]
    GDP per capita in India - $3,100

    For someone in America, hell a $2,000 computer would be 1/20th of income, while a $230 computer in India is 1/13th.
    • by nganju (821034) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:44AM (#12498733)
      Misinterpretation of statistics. GDP per capita in India is $3,100 but what is the standard deviation? Here's a badly formatted PDF [wri.org] with more detailed numbers. You can see that roughly 30 million households have an income of $5000 or more. If they all bought pc's it would more than double the penetration in India.

      Not to mention that PC penetration here did not occur last week, when computers were 1/20th of income. Penetration in the U.S. happened more than 10 years ago, when PC's were $3-4k and GDP was ~$25k [infoplease.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      25 years ago, I lived with my family in pretty un-spectacular circumstances. We didn't have a lot of money, and I remember trying to make food stretch out until we could get more. My parents worked hard, but things were always very tight.

      Then, my parents scraped together $500 to buy a computer. Don't ask me how they did, or what they expected. But it was understood that it was for us kids to learn. None of us really knew what we were supposed to learn. Not even my parents. It was an amazingly large sum of
  • by shyampandit (842649) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:13AM (#12498409) Homepage
    Here are some good looking pics of the laptop. Im not sure you can call it a laptop though, it looks more like a hybrid version of a pda and laptop. New segment?

    Check out http://news.com.com/Photos+Low-cost+computing+with +style/2009-1005_3-5701496.html [com.com]
  • for them to be on sale for $2!

  • Low power... (Score:3, Informative)

    by klubar (591384) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:19AM (#12498486) Homepage
    This unit was also featured on NPR's Marketplace last night. One of the features that they touted in the interview was the units very low power consumption. It's designed to be run off batteries or unreliable (which I assume means varying voltage) power sources. As they mentioned, this will help many more third-world villages have computer access. Remember even at $200 it's still a substantial amount of a year's salary.

    See http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2005/05/1 0/PM200505102.html [publicradio.org] for more details
  • You know there's something wrong when you see a homeless guy in India pull out a mobile better than yours and say in a perfect british accent "Hello, BT help desk"!
    • You know there's something wrong when you see a homeless guy in India pull out a mobile better than yours and say in a perfect british accent "Hello, BT help desk"!

      I am appalled by this statement. It is absurd and racist.

      Absurd because in reality nobody ever answers phone calls to the BT Help Desk. And racist because you are implying that a homeless Indian guy would debase himself far enough to work for BT.

      You should hang your head in shame.
  • by shm (235766) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:20AM (#12498497)
    I've tried to buy Encore's Simputer. They're not really into retail or for that matter anything close to "consumer electronics" as we understand the term. They like to sell stuff "vertically" - i.e. they use their Simputer as a platform for specific applications. Look for a link to their handheld military version with GPS etc. Very cool.

    I would expect them to do something similar with this device.

    You can see a bit of that happening already with the reference to the US company which is planning on using this for some kind of security application.

    Also, they are a very Linux centric shop.

  • Depending on where you are, $200 could be a fortune. Relatively speaking, how much is $200 in India? What will it buy you (asside from this computer)? I'm trying to get a better feel for how 'inexpensive' this might be.
  • The PC penetration in India is very low, at a measly 13 million, due to the high costs involved."

    Doesn't the fact that many of the population are struggling to feed their families or dying of easily-curable diseases, and that many more are illiterate or live in places without a reliable electricity supply, let alone an Internet connection, have something to do with it too? The Indians who are on the receiving end of outsourcing are a small minority. Also, how interesting is a laptop if you rarely leave y

  • by Gondola (189182) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @09:31AM (#12498588)
    Car GPS systems with smaller displays cost $600 and up. A $400 system that includes a GPS and can also be used for other things would sell like hotcakes!

    If the IR module is powerful enough, you could also use it for home automation and as a remote for your entertainment system.. or just use the wireless to connect to your network and control everything that way.

    Touch screen would be ideal. If I could get one of these, it would be my car GPS and home automation pal.
    • which is not a bad idea (except for the US balance of payments,)

      But how do you know that our insatiable apetite for cheaper, faster, better won't out strip their production capacity and market conditions will leave the Indian poor still out in the cold and dark.

      The price will rise due to demand and the Indian farmer is right back where he started, competing with us and our much fatter wallets.
  • This would be a boon for the small business and to potentially reach the millions in rural areas. Consider the advantages this would bring to a small store owner who does all his inventory and order management in this and at the end of the day takes it along home and he can continue working on it, or his kids can do their school work on it / browse etc.

    Simputer was a noble concept, but the small size worked to its disadvantage since it was never considered as a replacement for a PC. This on the other hand
  • if everyone in india got one. This company would make $200 billion dollars...

    --
    http://unk1911.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  • The real reason.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by bpuli (654182)
    why PC "penetration" is really low in India is because a majority of the population has to fight hard every day to *eat*.
    The reality is quite different from that created due to the "outsourcing mecca" image. IT and related services employ only about 6 million Indians (out of a 1.1 billion total). IT related products/services are only about 1.5% of the Indian GDP.
    It is going to be a long time for the PC to become a part of the average Indian's life.
  • It's been really interesting to watch India and China both taking quantum steps at strengthening their position in the global economy.

    India's focus on IT is really starting to pay back the dividends... The problem now is that their focus has to start to shift to quality.

    Although they are becoming a threat for people in NA (in terms of job competition) I wonder how long NA customers can go with the quality issues in the Indian IT market and work force. Anyone who's dealt with an outsourced call center

  • but does it run Windows?
  • Frequently in the 3rd World, as us arrogant Westerners describe it, or the less developed world or whatever you call it, systems are shared. For example, a village will have one computer. When you spread the cost of this out between 50 families in a village in India that make far less than the per capita income, it becomes much more affordable. I suspect that this system with also be attractive to NGO's in regions like this and charitable foundations because they can spend less money and get greater distrib
    • Re:Shared use (Score:2, Informative)

      1)"3rd world" is a term that the 3rd world member countries decided to call themselves as an organization of states who needed to have a strong voice on the world stage.

      2)India is not part of the 3rd world any longer. they are part of the developing world. that means that they have a stable government and a growing economy.
  • More info (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quixote (154172) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @11:14AM (#12499774) Homepage Journal
    More info in PDF here [ncoretech.com].

    Built-in: Ethernet, Analog modem, 2x USB2.0 ports, CF-II, SD/MMC, VGA out.

    With 2 USB ports, you can add on a lot of other crap.

    Even if this doesn't succeed: it is good to see them experimenting.

  • by migs (96414) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @12:32PM (#12500747)
    My prediction is that all attempts at selling what most people would consider inferior computers will not work. Not in India nor in any other developing country.

    What many people from rich countries do not realize, is that people in countries like India have a different set of priorities. If you go to any slum you will notice that even though housing is terrible, plumbing is non-existent, and garbage is strewn everywhere, many people own televisions, refrigerators, radios, cell phones, etc.

    I don't see any reason why computer ownership will be an exception to the rule. Poor people will want their kids to have the same computers as rich people do (perhaps with less RAM, smaller monitor, etc), and will not be interested in buying a computer designed for the poor.

    One more note... a lot of statistics about computer users in developing countries are very misleading. For example, the CIA claims that there are about 18.4 million Internet users in India [indexmundi.com], but if you travel to any Indian city you will see Internet cafes everywhere, all crowded with people. There may be 18.4 million subscribers to Internet services, but the actual number of individuals with Hotmail/Yahoo/Rediff accounts is probably a lot higher, perhaps even 10 times higher.
  • by toolz (2119) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @01:36PM (#12501506) Homepage Journal
    Strange, I don't see anyone coughing up URLs for the actual product site, so here we go:

    The best pictures are in the PDF.

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