Friday, July 23, 2010

Markets in Everything: The $35 Computer

CS Monitor -- "It looks like an iPad, only it's 1/14th the cost: India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touchscreen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011.

If the Indian government can find a manufacturer, the Linux operating system-based computer would be the latest in a string of "world's cheapest" innovations to hit the market out of India, which is home to the 100,000 rupee ($2,127) compact Nano car, the 749 rupees ($16) water purifier and the $2,000 open-heart surgery."

HT: Joy Pavelski

12 Comments:

At 7/23/2010 1:49 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well now! There's some clever engineering here and it follows the K.I.S.S. theory...


From PC World: The Indian prototype is impressive--especially at a $35 price point. The device runs on a variation of Linux. It has no internal storage, but it is capable of storing data on a memory card. It has a built in word processor, video conferencing capabilities, and--most importantly for a cloud-based workforce--a Web browser. Oh--it can also run on solar power...

Now if it works as advertised that a seriously cool tool...

 
At 7/23/2010 2:02 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

it's a great idea, and drives home just how much of the cost of a PC comes from windows and intel, but i am pretty suspect of this $35 price tag.

qualifiers such as "if we can find a manufacturer" are generally signs that it's still very preliminary and i have some real questions about getting a touch screen that cheaply and whether that $35 includes any memory and what kind of processor they plan to use etc, but still, i wish them luck with it.

 
At 7/23/2010 2:26 PM, Blogger rjs said...

Of course, we've been let down by big claims like this before (see the $100 laptop that ended up costing ~$200). One of the commenters on the Indian Express article was particularly skeptical:

knowing a similar stunt pulled 1-2 years back, It would be prudent for cheering Indians to note that the actual price may be off by 2 0's on the right of $35.The Govt will also provide heavy lead bricks with it for heat draining and VFM.

http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/2010/07/the-35-laptop.html

 
At 7/23/2010 3:18 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Too bad we cannot get our military to think so innovatively. In today's LA Times is a report on a new $45 million police station in Khandahar, but one too complicated for native Afghanies to maintain. The solution? An $800 million, 10-year contract to maintain it, given to a private-U.S. contractor.

The tragedy of the commons.

Gee, do you suppose some of that $800 million will find its way back into US Congressman's pockets? Just maybe?

 
At 7/23/2010 5:30 PM, Blogger DaveinHackensack said...

Great, now Indian kids will be able to distract themselves more easily in class by surfing the web. Students using laptops in class do worse on tests.

"The solution? An $800 million, 10-year contract to maintain it, given to a private-U.S. contractor."

Feature, not a bug. The Afghanistan war is a cash cow that contractors, NGOs, think tankers, diplomats, and enterprising businesses set up to serve them, can milk for as long as the U.S. and NATO are enmeshed there.

 
At 7/23/2010 6:26 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Too bad we cannot get our military to think so innovatively"...

To bad we can't get pseudo benny the pseudo economist to go to India and find a job whining about the Indian army...

 
At 7/23/2010 7:54 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Where will they outsource the support call center to?

 
At 7/23/2010 9:14 PM, Blogger Don Culo said...

To bad we can't get pseudo juandos the pseudo economist to go to India and find a job whining about Obama...

 
At 7/23/2010 10:02 PM, Blogger Allen said...

If the Indian government is subsidizing, should we be using the word "market"?

 
At 7/24/2010 4:35 AM, Blogger angatlahi said...

Im not surprise India is the next silicon valley considering the number of PHD students graduating every year in a country they can make a difference in this new chapter in our time. Gone of all the days of the G8, G20 its the Next 11 asian countries, or otherwise known as the ASIANESS.

 
At 7/24/2010 11:53 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"To bad we can't get pseudo juandos the pseudo economist to go to India and find a job whining about Obama"...

Hmmm, obviously El Sr. ParĂ¡sito hasn't been paying attention to the realities...

 
At 8/10/2010 7:57 PM, Blogger Tushar Bansal said...

Factors that may contribute to low cost in Inida:
1. Social prestige for education
2. Narrow focus of education (Engineeing, MBAs, and Medicine)
3. Corruption
4. Over production on supply side of educated individuals
5. Incompetent Regulatory framework that is slow to act
6. Free Market focus
7. No patenting (though this is chaning, but not able to enforce it properly as businesses are fearless in gaming the system)
8. Many small businesses
9. Very high competition
10. Inadequate regulatory framework for labor laws
11. Large Population
12. Cheap Education ( also not properly designed; focused towards developing analytical skills rather than behavioral or leadership skills)

and a lot others apart from basic economy of scales and stuff...

 

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