India Unveils £23 Computing Device

A Touchscreen computing device aimed at students is expected to be introduced into higher education institutions from 2011

India has invented the world's cheapest "laptop", a touch screen computer that costs $35 (£23).

Kapil Sibal, India's human resource development minister, this week revealed the low-cost computer that was originally designed for students, is now a hot topic with global manufacturers to start mass production.

"We have reached a [developmental] stage that today, the motherboard, its chip, the processing, connectivity, all of them cumulatively cost around $35, including memory, display, everything," he told a news conference in New Delhi.

He said the touchscreen gadget was chocker-block with web browers, PDF reader and video conferencing facilities, and its hardware was created with sufficient flexibility to incorporate new components according to user requirement.

Sibal said the Linux-based device was expected to be introduced to higher education institutions from 2011 and the aim was to drop the price further to $20, and ultimately to $10.

The miniature priced device was constructed by research teams at India's premier technological institutes, the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science.

India spends about 3% of its annual budget on school education and has improved its literacy rates to over 64% of its population of 1.2 billion. However, studies have shown many students can barely read or write and most state-run schools have inadequate facilities.

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