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India aims for $10 laptop

Can you make a laptop for $10? The Indian government thinks so.

It sounds too good to be true, but the Human Resources Development ministry in India is trying to get engineers to devise a $10 laptop.

So far, the ministry is looking at two different designs: one from an engineering student at the Vellore Institute of Technology and another from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, according to the Times of India. (The Institute of Science, by the way, is not the colleges that are part of the Indian Institute of Technology. The Institute of Science is a grad school. Out of over 100,000 annual applications, it takes about 350.)

So far, one of the laptops, even after factoring in labor charges, costs about $47.

The cost is encouraging and we are hopeful it would come down to $10. We would also look into the possibility of some Indian company manufacturing the parts,? an official said.

Even though labor is cheap in India, getting a laptop to this level will be tough. A laptop is made from components, after all, which have to be made in factories. The $100 laptop from Nicholas Negroponte has balloonedup to $175. These laptops will be made on a single board. And most likely, it will be made with old, discarded component. You and I may not want them, but a lot of old components are pretty good. A 1GHz processor is considered out-of-date these days.