World’s cheapest laptop unveiled in India
Government sets target of £20 for basic, touch screen device.
India has developed the world’s cheapest touch screen laptop, which is expected to cost under £20.
In reality, the Sakshat has more in common with the Apple iPad than a laptop because it gives only basic features.
These include Web browsing, PDF viewing and videoconferencing, although it has been designed to allow for future customisation and development.
The computer has been developed as an affordable option for students and was, itself, designed by students at the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science.
India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said, “We have reached a stage that, today, the motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively, cost around Rs1,500 (£20), including memory, display - everything.”
Sibal said he is now inviting entrepreneurs and manufacturers to come forward to produce the Sakshat. He added that the price had been calculated to cover the complete production cycle but he hoped that economies of scale might bring the price down to £13 or even as low as £7 when the devices go on sale next year.
The initiative to produce an extremely cheap computer was triggered as part of the Indian government’s National Mission on Education Through Information and Communication Technology, which aims to provide high quality digital content free of cost to all learners in the country.
About three per cent of India’s annual budget is spent on education, and literacy rates have improved in over 64 per cent of its 1.2 billion population. But most state-run schools still have inadequate facilities. The government hopes e-learning resources will help to improve that situation.