India on Thursday unveiled a Rs.1,500 (around $30) laptop designed specifically for students.
The device is a cross between iPad and tablet PC and is designed by experts from IIT, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. It can be charged by a solar panel.
However, the device can only be available to students in 2011.
On the occasion of the launch of the device, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said, "If more companies decide to manufacture a similar device, prices will come down automatically.”
The ministry floated the concept of a low cost laptop some years ago that was to come at Rs.500 ($10). However, the cost has tripled over the years and would cost now around $30 (Rs 1500).
The ministry expects the prices to drop to Rs.1,000 ($20) and reach Rs.500($10) as innovations are introduced.
The device looks similar to the conventional laptop and comes with a touch screen and a built in key board along with features like a 2 GB RAM memory, Wi-Fi connectivity, USB port, video-conferencing facility, multimedia content, searchable Pdf reader and unzip tool. The mini laptop is powered by a 2-watt system to suit poor power supply areas.
"This is real and tangible and we will take it forward. Sun will rise for the Indian students in 2011," Sibal said.
The low cost laptops will be distributed in institutions under the National Mission on Education through Information and Technology (NMEICT) connectivity. Currently, already 8,500 colleges have been connected under this programme.