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A $35 Computer? This is no Joke.

{ Posted on Jul 25 2010 by Marcus Alston }

I was reading the information on the Internet the other day and came across a few articles about a recent announcement about a $35 computer from India.

The computer is a small handheld sized electronic device that includes an Internet browser, a multimedia player, a PDF reader, and video conferencing ability.  Wow.  All for $35?  What a way to stretch your budget!

On July 22 in New Delhi, the Indian Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, introduced the prototype of an unnamed Linux-based computing tool aimed at students at India’s schools and universities.  It will be available to higher educational institutions by 2011.

The target market for the computer also includes India’s low income market.  The total target market for the computer is a relatively untapped and huge market of about 1.2 billion people.

“The aim is to reach such devices to the students of colleges and universities, and to provide these institutions a host of choices of low-cost access devices around $35 or less in near future,” the Minister announced at the unveiling of the computer.

The Minister knows what he is talking about.  A 2009 study by India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry found that despite low earnings, the nearly 742 million people across rural India are increasing demand faster than urban areas and accounting for more than 60 percent of the country’s demand.  This shows the power of the people and their purchasing power as a group and manufactures should take note.

For an extra cost, you can take advantage of the computer’s solar power option too which is  important for India which has areas that lack traditional energy sources.  I love the solar option, especially if it essentially removes the need for traditional charging.  This would be great for India and is something I would like to see added worldwide in computers.

“This is our answer to MIT’s $100 computer,” Kapil Sibal is quoted as telling the Economic Times.  In 2005,  the co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab introduced a prototype of a $100 laptop for children in the developing world which ended up costing about $200 in the end. India rejected the computer as being too costly and developed its own cheaper option.

Will this computer make it to other countries soon or have an impact on the cost of computers worldwide?  I hope so–a manufacturer still has to be found to produce the computer.  However, with the economy becoming increasingly global, what happens in another country such as India is certain to have a ripple effect in other countries.  If the quality is good, makers of computers and smart phones better take note.  Even if the quality is not good, this technology is no longer rocket science and someone will make a better and cheaper product.

FYI, the price of the new $35 computer is expected to fall to $10 in just a few short years.

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