Low Cost PCs make their debut in India
With Tata's Nano starting the low cost revolution, it is time IT caught up with its own version :).. Today's papers are talking about HCL releasing a new laptop for INR 14,000/- or USD 350. A widely known project on similar lines has been OLPC that promises to deliver laptops at USD 100 or INR 4000. Indian govt. seems to have rejected that concept all together.
The HCL PC has 2 GB flash based (solid state) drive instead of a regular Hard Drive. Other features include 7" LCD, built-in wireless, USB, PC Card socket and runs Linux. Reference:
In a similar news, Sify has been planning to create a thin client device that can serve as set-top box and connect with servers in the backend. It is using Windows CE to run this think client. This service will run on subscription model.
What needs to be seen is would consumers buy crippled, single purpose devices (e.g. for browsing) from these vendors? while on paper, the low cost looks good, would people settle for less? the computer signifies the "next" step for most Indian house holds, are they willing to compromise on their aspirations? my bet is that households wudn't buy a "cheap" dream...
the alternative channel that these PCs need to explore is to come to the market via govt agencies and channels like PDS..
And somebody who wants to just surf/listen to music can always get one and install a lightweight Linux distribution and enjoy.
But I dont think the 14k leaptop is a single purpose laptop. It just has too small a flash disk - an 8gb flash would have made it adequate to install more apps like openoffice, some photo manangers, media players etc.