UPDATE: Reports, pictures, and details are still murky but this appears to be a case of overhyped nonsense where the device is simply a flash drive system without monitor or keyboard: http://education.zdnet.com/?p=2131
The Times of India and others are now reporting that a team of students and the Government of India have developed a low cost laptop that is expected to be put into widespread use throughout India very soon. The initial cost is reported to be $20 with a mass production cost expected to be $10.
Yes, you heard that right – ten bucks for a computer.
Although the specs on these machines will obviously be marginal, it is not longer important for most users to have a robust machine – rather cloud storage and applications and internet-as-network computing has become dominant even for many high end computer users.
As admirable as the One Laptop Per Child project has been to this process it appears the India machines may wreck the One Laptop train. Although it’s not clear yet if the India systems will be self powered and have mesh networking capabilities as the One Laptops do, I think the key brilliancy of Negroponte was to create machines that were accessible to a dramatically greater number of people than have had access in the past to advanced technologies. The India project combined with the dramatic innovations in smartphones and cellular connectivity combined with Intel’s falling out with One Laptop last year may obsolete the One Laptop project in its current form, though Negroponte can certainly be proud to have ushered in an era of “extremely low cost” computing.