A week after India unveiled what it claimed to be the world’s cheapest tablet computer, the country’s eastern neighbor, Bangladesh, has launched one of the world’s cheapest laptops.
The country’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, unveiled the 10,000 taka ($130) Android-powered machine at a special ceremony in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Named after the country’s national bird, the Doel (magpie) has been produced by the state-owned telecom company TSS in partnership with two private firms.
Government spokesman Shefayet Hossain said, “(There are) four types of Doel laptops, the most basic one is priced at 10,000 taka ($130). The highest price is 26,000 taka.”
According to ITProPortal (via PC World), the most basic Doel machine comes equipped with an 800MHz VIA 8650 processor, 512MB RAM, 16GB flash memory, a 10.1-inch 1024×600 LCD panel, a webcam, Wi-Fi, an SD card reader and two USB ports. That sounds pretty good for $130 and should be fine for simple computer tasks.
The country currently produces only 10 percent of the components for the laptop although it’s thought that in the next six months that figure will rise to 60 percent.
Bangladesh’s education ministry is planning to distribute the cut-price laptop to millions of poor students around the country.
Speaking to the BBC about the new machine, TSS managing director Mohammad Ismail said, “This is a big step towards building a digital Bangladesh. When villages get laptops at a cheaper price they will be connected to the Internet and that will bring lots of benefits.”
Through its Digital Bangladesh initiative, the country’s government plans to have the entire country digitally connected within the next 10 years.