Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

$10 Laptop Downgraded By Reality; Now Fancy Storage Device

Comments Filter:
  • But (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0prime (792333) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:20PM (#26729807)
    I can use it in my lap, right?
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can use it in my lap, right?

      Yes, but not on top.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:20PM (#26729815)

    They mean it has no wires. It's actually an Etch-a-Sketch.

  • SD card slot, Microcontroller chip, Radio chip. Viola, low power, moderate bitrate and range wireless data storage device for $5. Development costs furnished by the Indian tax payers.

    • by JonTurner (178845) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:32PM (#26729957) Journal

      Wait a second. What started off as a laptop has devolved into a flash drive with a bluetooth chip & a battery! Another week and it'll be described as a "spiral-bound notebook and a pencil with a string tied to it."

    • So, basically it's one of these:

      http://www.eye.fi/ [www.eye.fi]
      • Only less useful, if it's actually a slot.

        Take out, plug into slot, and possibly configure a bluetooth device...

        Versus, be in range of a wireless access point, then point and shoot.

    • by p0tat03 (985078)

      Viola, low power, moderate bitrate and range wireless data storage device for $5. Development costs furnished by the Indian tax payers.

      What does string instruments have to do with anything? The word you're looking for is "voila" :P

      As for why it's expensive, batteries cost a lot, as do wireless certification and licenses (802.11x or Bluetooth). The SD and microcontroller are the least of their cost concerns.

      • by Falstius (963333)

        What does string instruments have to do with anything? The word you're looking for is "voila" :P

        Technically it is voila` (can't seem to use the correct accent character).

        As for why it's expensive, batteries cost a lot, as do wireless certification and licenses (802.11x or Bluetooth).

        All of which are irrelevant for a wall-wart powered device developed by the Indian government using a COTS wireless chip.

        Actually, the photo posted in the addendum blog makes it look like this isn't even a wireless device.

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:43PM (#26730105)
      SD card slot, Microcontroller chip, Radio chip. Viola, low power, moderate bitrate and range wireless data storage device for $5. Development costs furnished by the Indian tax payers.

      Why so expensive? Have you priced violas recently?
      • I am pretty sure there does not exist a viola that is only $5. Even the crappiest models would start at $50, made in Vietnam (for instance).

        My ex wife is a viola player. One learns a lot, while married!

      • Why so expensive? Have you priced violas recently?

        Heh, nice :)
        It baffles me that this mistake is so widespread, the pronunciation is substantially different. Maybe people are using words they don't know the meaning of?

        • by Falstius (963333)
          Or, it could just be that o and i are next to each other, and when typing quickly it is easy to hit them in the wrong order. I do actually know the meaning of viola, voila and voilà. I am baffled by people who assume that a typo is actually a sign of ignorance, and amused by the better jokes based off my typo.
    • How do you connect the viola?

      • by Zerth (26112)

        How do you connect the viola?

        .

        With an acoustic coupler, of course.

        Violas are banned in secure facilities because of that, as they can network across the supposedly secure "air gap". /What, like you never played along with your modem's sync tones.

    • by Samah (729132)

      SD card slot, Microcontroller chip, Radio chip. Viola, low power, moderate bitrate and range wireless data storage device for $5. Development costs furnished by the Indian tax payers.

      You get a viola with it? Man those things are expensive! I'll stick to my guitar thanks.

    • by jhol13 (1087781)

      Where can I buy one?

    • by hey! (33014)

      The reasons geeks think this way is that they think everything but the hardware is free, starting with the labor of assembly and testing, certainly, but also support, distribution marketing, even packaging. If I were starting out to build a computer, it wouldn't even have a case, and it would ship as a box of loose parts and wires, like the good old Altair.

    • 4 slow USB ports, 2 cheap ($2) microcontrollers, 1 IR port, 2 swappable 32k rams, hardwired.
      Reused small display, and 4 piezo sensors on a card to act as keyboard/mouse.

      You buy thumbdrives to act as your disk storage.
      You communicate with USB and IR.
      The piezo sensors interpret your typing on the card. You want better, you buy a USB keyboard.

      The two microcontrollers act as an I/O controller (one), and full-time processor (two). The I/O controller swaps out data to the thumbdrive disks, allowing full multita

  • That still sounds pretty cool to me, I'll take 3!
  • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:27PM (#26729893)

    would you believe, a a storage device that plugs into your wireless router for $10? how about, would you believe, a usb dongle that plugs into a laptop that could have wireless, for $10?

  • by jerralb (44562) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:32PM (#26729955)

    Did the India Times succumb to economic pressures and outsource their reporting jobs to the US?

  • by prgrmr (568806) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:35PM (#26730009) Journal
    it will include a preinstalled copy of Duke Nukem Forever
  • 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.
    • by hey! (33014)

      Sure, but ... I actually think they're on the right track.

      I once worked for a guy who loved hardware. He spent altogether too much time scheming about ways to get new and bigger hardware. I used to keep myself in beer by betting him when he announced the next hardware acquisition he was going definitely going get into the budget. The thing was, when he did succeed, by the time the machine came in it was no longer impressive. I used to tell him, time and time again, "hardware is just incipient trash."

      I

      • by anss123 (985305)

        While USB sticks are handy, USB has a master/slave architecture that is inconvenient and inflexible.

        There's USB "on the go" that addresses that flaw, but it does not seem to be popular. Popularity is the be all end all of ubiquitous devices, which is a problem this device is no better positioned to overcome than USB OTG or USB Wireless.

        you pay Apple and they go away

        Never bought an Apple product, doubt I ever will. Keep your luxury goods and brand name products, I stopped caring years ago.

  • $10? Low ball. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pubwvj (1045960)
    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 t
    • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The project was not a laptop but actually a cob of corn.

  • 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 enos (627034) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @06:12PM (#26730381)

      It also doesn't make much sense to have a storage device without a computer to actually make use of it.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @09:20PM (#26732189)

      >So, who else is shocked that Team $10 laptop didn't actually have the magic bullet? No hands? Hmm.

      The morons in the previous thread who argued that "DUDE, CORPORATIONS PAY LIKE 5% OF RETAIL TO MAKE COMPUTERS, 10 DOLLAR LAPTOP IS POSSIBL!!!" These people were modded +5 insightful. [slashdot.org] My replies were either modded down or ignored by the mods. So much for the "wisdom of crowds" eh?

      Obviously, these people dont understand the margin on computers is razor-thin and life isnt just one big conspiracy to get you. A $150-200 dollar laptop thats usable? Yes. A ten dollar laptop? No.

    • 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.

      I remember the Linux Simputer [wikipedia.org] ---

      which emerged from the same process as the OLPC and whose failures have much the same roots.

      There is much to be said for "the ruthless efficiency of the market." Not least its deafness to ideology.

    • by Zey (592528)

      So, who else is shocked that Team $10 laptop didn't actually have the magic bullet? No hands?

      Pick me, Fatcat!

      Couple of Zilog 380s or a cheap later model Motorolla 68k chips, Micro SD card support for storage, specialised TV-out SVGA so they can hook it up to their TV, a second-hand keyboard they can probably find for nix. Add one of the GPL microcomputer GUI OSes like BeOS or AmigaOS (or whatever GPL clones exist if licenses are too pricey) and you're laughing.

      For a tenner, you're going to get a microcomp

  • with cow dung.

    Imagine RAID of those!

  • Maybe they're hosting the article with pictures on one of these $10 laptops? ;)
  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @05:59PM (#26730275) Homepage Journal

    You know when your company is considering outsourcing something, and the team that's bidding for it all have twenty years experience (in something that's only existed for two and a half weeks, but hey, they're keen! I like a can-do attitude) and actually speak reasonable English?

    And then, reality dawns...

  • Shocked. (Score:5, Funny)

    by sharkb8 (723587) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @06:01PM (#26730287)
    Having worked with outsourced Indian coders, I, for one, am shocked that Indian engineers overpromised, underdelivered, and were overbudget.
    • by iggymanz (596061)
      not to mention their English was misunderstood. shocking, I tell you.
    • Yup, but they were ISO9000, Six Sigma and CMMi, so it must have been your fault!

    • I know you are trying to be funny, but there is huge difference between some of the best organizations like Infosys, Wipro, I-flex of India and fat-ass ministers/bureaucrats, who have no clue about what is difference between hard disk and monitor.

      My 2 cents.

  • Evidently it's not suitable for being a webserver, either.

  • by chill (34294)

    The whole "but does it run Linux" meme is valid!

  • 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 s
  • The sad thing is that I don't actually think that a $10 computing device (no screen, but wireless and storage) is out of the question.

    For example the C64DTV was an entire computer, with flash storage, and ability to attach a keyboard, and they were dirt cheap. There are also the Megadrive/Genesis in a Joypad devices that are cheap and have screens.

    Therefore you can make computing devices cheaply, with a TV/VGA output.

    Of course what you would do it create something like your typical ARM SoC, connect it to an

  • 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.

    • Why microdrives? Let us plug a full-size hard drive into the thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by macraig (621737)

        Two possible words: power consumption.

        Besides, throwing a "real" fixed disk drive in the thing, even just having to add the electronics and space for one, would probably make the cost of it skyrocket even further. Your suggestion might qualify as feature creep.

  • Alright negative Nancy's since your not using them I'd give your left one for a $10 wireless storage unit.
  • This is like me putting linux on a portable hard drive or USB drive, booting from it while it's connected to another computer, and calling it a laptop just because I can walk around with "my computer" and all my software and file and use it anywhere...as long as there's a computer to plug it into lol.
  • Why does this remind me of the $10 "Educational Computer" which was basically a NES?

  • by podom (139468) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @07:51PM (#26731461) Homepage

    In other news:

    * $100 Car Downgraded By Reality; Now Used Bicycle
    * $75 House Now Tent
    * $1 GPS System Now Toy Compass from Box of Cracker Jack

  • Looking at the picture and having read about it on a few outlets, it seems to be a 10"x5" handheld with a small builtin LCD and a micrcontroller which allows the device to go online (don't know how). User can download more content on the device and presumably use the LCD to view it.
    So to me it looks like an ebook reader which can then be used to potentially replace expensive books and possibly offer a richer multimedia learning experience to the kids. From that perspective, it may not be that bad an inves
  • Too many people want something for virtually nothing. A $10 laptop is pure fantasy.

  • the Sakshat ZX81! ;)

  • Why does it appear to be underwater in this [liliputing.com] picture? Is it radioactive? It looks like pictures of 'swimming pool' reactors. Or maybe it has a P4 processor.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

Working...