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$10 Laptop is Huge Disappointment

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 25 comments

News did the rounds earlier in the week about India’s supposed $10 dollar laptop. The laptop reportedly costs $20 to manufacture, but according to India’s Secretary for Higher Education, large-scale production runs would see the price in half by the time it hits consumers.

The news no doubt had Nicholas Negroponte and the lads over at the OLPC foundation quaking in their boots. The XO Laptop was already getting its ass kicked by the barrage of netbooks that hit the market shortly after its launch and Intel’s rival educational notebook, the Classmate PC was winning over governments and filling more classrooms than the OLPC’s laptop.

Image credit: ITcafeImage credit: ITcafe

Fortunately for the OLPC and unfortunately for everyone else, it seems like there’s less to the $10/$20 laptop than we originally thought--considerably less. With "megabytes" of onboard memory and wi-fi capabilities we (rather optimistically, we’ll admit) pictured something that resembled the netbooks we’re seeing now but a little more primitive. What we saw, was not a laptop, nor was it $10, or even $20. And why it was being touted as a laptop still remains a mystery

Times of India reports that the Sakshat is a 10-inch by 5-inch plastic box which, despite an official unveiling at India's Sri Venkateswara University yesterday, still contains only mystery parts. It appeared more like a storage device than anything else. As for the $10 price, the expected price is closer to thirty bucks. Bummer. It feels like being promised a car and getting a single rollerskate.

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  • 7 Hide
    Marcus Yam , February 4, 2009 5:56 PM
    At least even a single rollerskate has four wheels, and might actually be able to get you places.

    While it is partially the fault of certain publications to get all hot and bothered over something that is completely improbable, it still is disappointing to the point where I really would prefer the rollerskate.
  • 1 Hide
    bf2gameplaya , February 4, 2009 6:13 PM
    What is that a picture of exactly?
  • 1 Hide
    p05esto , February 4, 2009 6:24 PM
    Good question, looks like a pretend box my 4-yr old would have fun plugging cords in and out of. But even then, not worth $10 I'm afraid.

    I'll take the rollerskate as well, could probably sell it to someone else who just got the one rollerskate deal.
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Trialsking , February 4, 2009 6:33 PM
    What a $10 laptop is no good!?!?!?!?! Its called getting what you pay for.

    I'd take the rollerskate also. You can cut in half and then nail it to a 2x4 board, and viola, you have a skate board.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , February 4, 2009 6:44 PM
    Wow.. this is really embarrassing. Being an Indian, I was looking forward to this "$10 laptop". How disappointing.
  • 0 Hide
    jwl3 , February 4, 2009 7:11 PM
    Any rational human being would know that this was impossible. What can you manufacture for $10? You couldn't even manufacture pre-pentium 486, 386, 286 laptops for that price. YES, the value of a 286 computer today is about $0. However, to physically MANUFACTURE a 286 or even to re-assemble from OLD RECYCLED COMPUTER PARTS would cost far more in materials and labor than $10. Just the same as manufacturing a new "phonograph" would cost a hell of a lot more than the inherent market value of a junk phonograph being sold at a garage sale.

  • 1 Hide
    Charbax , February 4, 2009 8:03 PM
    "the Classmate PC was winning over governments and filling more classrooms than the OLPC’s laptop."

    That is just not true. Check your facts.

    OLPC is in the hands of over 1 million children in 10 thousand OLPC pilot school all over third world countries. While the Classmate PC is nowhere to be found.

    You should learn not to believe marketing speak and photo ops sessions. Intel only talks about Classmate, but does not deliver. And Intel netbooks are designed to be mostly sold to rich geek adults in rich countries as a secondary or third computer.
  • 1 Hide
    IronRyan21 , February 4, 2009 8:18 PM
    Just lame, the laptop would be nice if it came with a screen. Wow, could u really use x86 cpu in that thing?
  • -1 Hide
    apache_lives , February 4, 2009 8:38 PM
    haha maybe theres a "extreme edition" or deluxe version with an Intel Atom! think of the performance! LOL
  • 4 Hide
    justjc , February 4, 2009 9:21 PM
    Why does everyone assume it has to be a PC?

    What the box is more likely to contain is a thin-client that is able to connect to central servers. This will enable it to give users access to the educational Sakshat portal, read e-books, connect to other users and participate in an e-classroom.

    It wouldn't be the first indian educational experiment with thin clients as shows. It also tells how it can be made as a $20 box, as the hardware demands is a lot smaller.

    The best info on the box I have found is in the Times of India if anyone has better links, please share.

    Personally I think India was right in going with this over the OLPC.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2009 1:15 AM
    sak what?
  • 2 Hide
    fuser , February 5, 2009 1:22 AM
    I have an island that I want to sell to you.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2009 8:15 AM
    Looks like a TV game console
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2009 1:16 PM
    Like I have predicted when the project was announced last year. Unless someone subsidise it, or they pay wages under poverty level, 10bucks is an impossible dream.

    And by the look of the pic, I think my first mobile phone 10 yrs back is more usable. I still couldnt comprehend whatever function it provides cannot be made do with a usb thumbdrive. I think its just the software.

  • 1 Hide
    Pei-chen , February 5, 2009 1:38 PM
    Typical India; brag first and nothing as the government would have changed by the time they need to deliver.
  • 0 Hide
    bobbychu , February 5, 2009 2:19 PM
    just a way to get news coverage.
    tech journalists should know better.
    what's next? a $100 car?
  • 0 Hide
    blazer_123 , February 5, 2009 2:42 PM
    Well, something very similar to that. A car in mass production for $2,500 to the end consumer in India.
  • 2 Hide
    bounty , February 5, 2009 3:24 PM
    Maybe it was 10$ after a 300$ mail in rebate that everbody knows won't get honored.
  • 0 Hide
    bustapr , February 5, 2009 3:40 PM
    It would be nice to waste $10 on a backup laptop thing that i might never use.Its supposed to only be worth $10 .Whats the harm in that.
  • 0 Hide
    Parrdacc , February 5, 2009 5:43 PM
    Why do I get the feeling that this "$10 laptop" with "still contains only mystery parts." is just a con? Like already stated you can't seriously think you could build one for only $10. Has they always say: "If it is too good to be true, it probably is"
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