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India Developing $10 Laptop?

Although no specifications or other details have been released, the IDG News Service is reporting that the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Technology are working in conjunction with the Indian government to develop a $10 laptop computer aimed for use in higher education. The announcement came at a conference in New Dehli, where the Minister of State for Higher Education D. Purandeswari noted the laptop would help increase the quality of higher education in India.

The Indian government has also announced plans to improve distance learning programs my making free bandwidth available for educational purposes to every Indian, along with developing a very low-cost (and low-power) network access device. The minister also didn’t reveal whether the proposed laptop’s price tag would be supported by government subsidies.

As a nation, India has one of the world’s largest populations—currently estimated to be over 1.3 billion people. However, currently fewer than 5 million have access to broadband in their homes.

The Indian government did not sign on to the One Laptop Per Child program (famously branding the program as "pedagogically suspect"), although Indian telecom provider Reliance Communications has been conducting pilot programs with the OLPC XO since late 2007.

[Update:31-Jul-2008: According to PC World, the Indian government is targeting a $100 price tag; the $10 figure apparently came from an error in a transcript of comments provided to reporters by the Indian government’s press bureau.]

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