Low-cost laptops set to roll out

NEW Delhi, june 9 (Agencies): Six years after it was conceived, the first lot of 10,000 laptops - the HRD ministry calls it low-cost access-cum-computing device - would be delivered to IIT-Rajasthan in late June, and over the next four months 90,000 more would be made available at Rs 2,200 apiece. Ministry officials said once the supply of one lakh devices is made, each state would be given 3,000 pieces. The Centre would subsidize 50% of the cost. Effectively, a student would have to pay Rs 1,100 for the gadget. Officials said manufacturing of 1 lakh laptops has been done in India.
As for the cost escalation from the earlier promised price of Rs 1,500, officials said it is due to increase in input cost. “But once more orders are placed, the price would be renegotiated and brought down to Rs 1,500,” an official said. IIT-Rajasthan is the nodal institute for conceiving and monitoring the progress of manufacturing of these gadgets. The delay in rolling out the laptops, officials explained, took place as the first company, which was given the contract to manufacture one lakh pieces, was bought over. “Now, we’ve built enough safeguards in the contract with new manufacturer,” the official said.
The low-cost device has a 7-inch touch screen, two USB ports, battery that runs for 3 hours, external hard drive or solid state memory support up to 32 GB. The device would have Word, Excel, power point, PDF, Open office, web browser with javascript support, zip/unzip facility, video streaming, flash video and many other software applications. It can operate in extreme conditions, officials said, adding that IIT-Rajasthan is putting the samples through further tests.