The Indian government has announced that it is supporting a plan to build a mass-produced laptop for just $20.
Dubbed Sakshat, which translates as 'before your eyes', the laptop will be built by the Vellore Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science, IIT-Madras and Semiconductor Complex.
"At this stage, the price is working out to be $20 but, with mass production, it is bound to come down," R P Agarwal, India's secretary for higher education, told The Times of India. He expects the first units to be available in six months.
The Linux-based laptop will have 2GB of solid state memory, Wi-Fi and USB ports but little else. It will not have an optical drive, and will not use Intel or AMD chips.
The Sakshat is the centrepiece of a new government programme called the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technologies.
Other elements of the plan include an electronic classroom accessible to all Indian students, and the uploading of free textbooks.
The Times of India reported that the Indian government has already struck deals with publishing firms Macmillan, Tata McGraw Hill, Prentice-Hall and Vikas Publishing to put textbooks online.
However, some observers question whether it is really possible to build a laptop for so little. OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte has reportedly expressed scepticism, saying that the display alone would cost $20.
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