The Indian $10 laptop project had analysts and engineers alike all wondering how the margins for an educational computer could be brought down to make such a low price possible. Now the device’s launch makes it all clear: it’s not actually a laptop at all. In fact, the device is a storage device intended to offer access to a catalog of educational materials, accessed by a separate computer or, according to some reports, a separate printer.
Measuring 10 x 5 inches, going by the one picture purported to be of the device that has leaked out, it has a small integral display and a number of ports that presumably can be hooked up to a separate computer or a printer to reproduce ebook materials. The Indian government has apparently made deals with several mainstream textbook suppliers who will be distributing their content through the device, including making 5-percent of it freely available.
However, far from being a standalone laptop, not even the promised price has been achieved. The current estimated sales cost is $30, three times the target. A secretary in the Ministry of Education believes that cost-cutting exercises will bring that down, but this is overall a disappointing (if predictable) end to the $10 laptop promise.