India’s $10 Laptop Set for Unveiling on Feb. 3rd: Reports

While the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program’s XO-1 (pictured) has failed to meet its goal of a $100 laptop, India is set to unveil a prototype of the RS500, in Tirupati on February 3rd when the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Techology is launched.

According to FT.com, however, the initial prototypes will cost $20, rather than the hoped for $10, but R.P. Agrawal, secretary of secondary and higher education told them that the cost of the laptop was expected that to fall, and that commercially available units would take about six months to produce.

The laptop is supposed to have 2GB of RAM, wi-fi as well as wired Ethernet. With all that, it’s hard to believe the laptop can cost $20, much less $10. Component costs alone, without even including the case and operating system, would seem to be higher than that.

India has been critical of the OLPC’s XO-1, saying it was overpriced at close to $200. While some netbooks are available at $99, these have all been subsidized, much in the way that cell phones are subsidized, by wireless carriers, and thus have a much higher total cost.

Can India truly succeed with this? Is this a real computer or something else, as others have posited? Let’s not forget the old saying: “you get what you pay for.”

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