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5/4/2007
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India Looks To Produce World's First $10 Laptop

The efforts thus far have yielded designs for a laptop that would cost about $47; a $10 system remains the ultimate goal.

One hundred dollars for a laptop? Highway robbery, according to policymakers in India.

The country that last year said no to MIT luminary Nicholas Negroponte's plan to introduce portable computers that would sell for a C-note is instead aiming for laptops that would cost $10. That's roughly the price of a ham sandwich in New York.

India's Ministry of Human Resource Development is spearheading the project, with help from Semiconductor Complex, a state-sponsored designer and manufacturer of integrated circuits. Officials from those organizations are presently weighing system designs submitted by an engineering student from India's Vellore Institute of Technology and a researcher from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

The Times of India on Friday reported that the efforts thus far have yielded designs for a laptop that would cost about $47, while a $10 system remains the ultimate goal.

Last year, Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child Organization submitted a proposal to the Indian government under which the group would have worked to produce laptops for Indian students starting at $100. Indian officials at the time criticized the proposal as insufficiently mature to be taken seriously and rejected it.

Still, other countries in emerging regions have signed on to participate in the OLPC program. Argentina, Brazil, Namibia, and Nigeria are among the countries that are on board.

The OLPC organization has produced a reference design for a $100 laptop that features an AMD Geode processor, a range of open-source software, and an attached hand crank for power generation. The group has said it's also considering other options for power generation, including a foot pedal.

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