A really, really, cheap laptop

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca. Just how low can a low-cost laptop cost? The tech world was abuzz Monday morning with word that India would be introducing its own home-grown low-cost laptop for an unheard of price: 500 rupees, or about $10 US or $12.70 Cdn.

Initial reports pegged the device, which is said to use wireless to connect and have 2GB of memory onboard, at the low price of $20 US, with an official telling the Times of India it will go down to the $10 US price with mass production.

The BBC, notes, however, that the price quoted could be based on a mistranslation that occurred in a transcript of a speech that turned $100 to $10.

And as Stephen Schenck at Obsessable.com notes (link via the Guardian), 2GB of RAM alone costs $20.
So it's possible the real price is more likely to be 5000 rupees, or about $100 US, though we won't know until today's announcement.

That would still undercut the price of Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child's XO machine, which ended up costing $188 after being dubbed the "$100 laptop" early in its development. India pulled out of the OLPC project in 2006 to work on its own laptop.

But it has us wondering: what kind of computing power can you get for $10 these days? A glorified calculator? An old PET computer? Or is this a realistic vision of the future? We'll find out how close we are to that number today.