$35 laptop becomes reality

The $35 laptop a long term dream of Indians may soon come true since the MHRD has floated a tender for expression of interest(EoI). The ministry expects that after the successful field trial of 1, 00,000 pieces, the requirement may further grow to 10 million pieces within a year.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Rajasthan has been allotted two projects for purchase and intensive testing of the $35-low cost access-cum-computing device that the ministry recently launched. The institute will purchase 100,000 such devices and carry out intensive laboratory and field tests across the country to ensure suitability in all geographical regions and in all climatic conditions.

“Support for external hard disk drive (minimum 32 GB), alternative battery support through solar cell, webcam (embedded webcam desirable), shock resistant casing of suitable form factor for the device,” the tender says.

The minimum functionalities of the device are support for video web conferencing facility, multimedia content viewer, unzip tool for unzipping zip files, possibility of installing suitable firmware up gradation, computing capabilities such as Open Office and media player capable of playing streamed as well as stored media files. The device should also support internet browsing, wireless communication along with a cloud computing option and remote device management capability. It should also render YouTube and other online video services (open source flash players), says the tender.

The specifications include suitable motherboard, Qwerty keyboard, mouse and a minimum display of 7 inch (17.78 cm) (17.78 cm) colour LCD/TFT (touch screen optional) besides three hours or more uninterrupted operation through battery or battery-less device.

EoI may be given by registered firms who are manufacturers or companies with a capability of design, sourcing, manufacture and delivery of the Low-Cost Access Device. EoIs can also be submitted by a consortium, but at least the lead member of the consortium will have to meet the qualification criteria. The participants are required to supply 100 pieces of their device for Quality Assurance before they are shortlisted to participate in the project of delivering 100,000 tablets/laptops/access-devices by January 2011.