$10 Laptop is Huge Disappointment

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: 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.

  • Marcus Yam
    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.
  • bf2gameplaya
    What is that a picture of exactly?
  • p05esto
    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.
  • Trialsking
    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.
  • Wow.. this is really embarrassing. Being an Indian, I was looking forward to this "$10 laptop". How disappointing.
  • jwl3
    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.

  • Charbax
    "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.
  • IronRyan21
    Just lame, the laptop would be nice if it came with a screen. Wow, could u really use x86 cpu in that thing?
  • apache_lives
    haha maybe theres a "extreme edition" or deluxe version with an Intel Atom! think of the performance! LOL
  • justjc
    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 http://venturebeat.com/2008/10/13/ncomputing-scores-big-indian-deal-for-its-thin-client-school-computers/ 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 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Rs_500-laptop_display_on_Feb_3/articleshow/4049914.cms if anyone has better links, please share.

    Personally I think India was right in going with this over the OLPC.