India Develops $35 'Laptop'

The tablet gadget, which can be run on solar power, is equipped with an Internet browser, video-conferencing capability and a media player

A new $35 touch-screen "laptop" (a computing prototype) was developed by the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science. The gadget will be available to students from elementary schools to universities.

The first users are expected to be university students with introduction of the Linux-based computing device targeted for next year.

Sibal said the cost of the motherboard, chip, processing and other components cost a total of around $35 but the government may subsidize 50% of the price for students. He said the government, which hopes the cost of the device can eventually fall to $10, is in discussions with global manufacturers to start mass production of the device.

The ministry is going to install broadband Internet at all of its 22,000 colleges so students can use the device, government spokeswoman Mamta Verma said on July 23.

The tablet gadget, which can be run on solar power, is equipped with an Internet browser, video-conferencing capability and a media player, among other facilities.

"This is part of the national initiative to take forward inclusive education," Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said. "The solutions for tomorrow will emerge from India."

India, whose 63% literacy rate lags far behind many other developing nations, such as China with 94%, is making efforts to improve its troubled education system, which lacks investment in schools and teachers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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