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Portables Data Storage Hardware

$10 Laptop Downgraded By Reality; Now Fancy Storage Device 143

Posted by timothy
from the not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The news last week that the Indian government was working on a $10 laptop was too good to be true. It turns out that the project is actually a wireless-enabled storage device, not a laptop." Update: 02/04 21:36 GMT by T : Always-illuminating Liliputing has a short article with a picture of the device.
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$10 Laptop Downgraded By Reality; Now Fancy Storage Device

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  • Bait and switch. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anss123 (985305) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:42PM (#26730089)
    Couldn't they just have said it was a glorified USB mem stick? Why the hoopla? Oh, yeah, no one would have cared otherwise. Smart.
  • $10? Low ball. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pubwvj (1045960) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:43PM (#26730093)
    Yes, I can see it as possible, in vast mast production, but $10 is a bit ambitious. Still, if any country were going to do it, India with it's semi-socialism, semi-capitalism and very large population is certainly a candidate. It needs to be very simple, no physical buttons, no moving parts, built in solar cell on the back, screen on the front, complete touch interface. Simplify, simplify, simplify. What might be a better idea, is to plan on a cost tag of $100, again with all possible simplification, and then subsidize the cost down to $10 via advertising on the device. Turn all those kiddies into future consumers. With what one asks... $10 is possible, if it's kept simple and there are no middlemen adding to the costs. Products we make get doubled or quadrupled in price before they get to consumers. The wonders of retailing. The real cost of manufacturing is generally about a quarter to a tenth of the price.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:45PM (#26730129) Journal
    So, who else is shocked that Team $10 laptop didn't actually have the magic bullet? No hands? Hmm.

    Although the new form of the widget is rather fuzzy, I don't think I understand the point. Very low cost computers, designed with the particular attributes of low budget education in mind, are something that hasn't seen much market focus, and are thus a logical target for a special development program. Mass storage, though, has been cheapened and commodified with ruthless efficiency by the mainstream tech market. As have wireless communications mechanisms(GSM is super cheap on the WAN side, and for LAN/PAN you have zigbee, bluetooth, and wifi, depending on your budget). In either case, I'd be shocked if a special charity R&D project could outpace the standard R&D driven by people's desire for cheap gadgets.

    Perfectly respectable 2gig USB drives can be had, retail, quantity one, now, for under 10 dollars. If sneakernet isn't good enough, wireless chipsets can also be had for under 10 dollars a unit. What niche, exactly, does this thing fill?
  • by Dreen (1349993) <dreen1@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:46PM (#26730147)

    More interesting are, going by the photo, 3 cables going out of the device. Any logical reason a wireless storage device would need 3 cables? Or any more than power supply for that matter?

  • by dubbleenerd (905429) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @06:27PM (#26730531) Homepage
    I've had my fair share of laughs from this whole turn of events, but giving this some serious thought (after cutting through all the Indian government's political BS), I surmise this will grow into some sort of distribution platform for schools across rural India. Imagine a low-cost, alway-on media server for educational materials that is more current than several-year-old textbooks, and is available to students at virtually no cost (hopefully the government will subsidize the hardware). I would imagine schools might be able to buy a notebook shell type accessory, which has just a display and keyboard. The accessory plugs into this unit (or perhaps connects wirelessly) and can then access all materials available to the educational institution. It cuts the cost of storage and some motherboard electronics from the individual laptops that students can own, making the system viable and inexpensive.
  • Two Gigbytes? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @06:40PM (#26730655)

    Jeez... I have a Type II CF microdrive that's three times that capacity! Couldn't they just design it to accept any Flash media or microdrives? They're kinda reinventing that wheel again, only less round this time.

  • Re:$10? Low ball. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @09:54PM (#26732457)

    >It needs to be very simple, no physical buttons, no moving parts, built in solar cell on the back, screen on the front, complete touch interface. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

    India and tried and has failed with the Simputer [wikipedia.org], which is a real, you know, computer.

    The problem is that you cant dictate need. If there's no legitimate need for an ultra cheap machine then you simply cant create need. People will ignore it, just like they did with the linux based simputer. If people are doing fine with cafes, phones, and computer labs in school then they wont get excited over a subsidized inferior machine.

    When there's need, the streets will find a way and capitalism will refine it and package it. You dont start from the top, you start from the bottom (basement hackers, kids, startups). This is why so many grand top-down designs of "great ideas" and utopias always fail. Buckminster Fuller and Dean Kamen never realized why they were completely irrelevant.

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