India has developed a 35-dollar touch-screen laptop, touted as the world's cheapest, under a programme to provide connectivity to students in schools and universities
The laptop unveiled by the country's Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal is described by the government as a 'low-cost computing and internet-access device.'
Sibal said his ministry had initiated talks with global companies about its manufacture and hoped to bring down the price to 10 dollars after the device was mass produced.
'India had developed another low-cost computing device last year but it cost about 65 dollars. This is a different model ... it looks like an Apple iPad,' Mamta Verma, a ministry spokeswoman, said.
The laptop has all the basic features, including a built-in keyboard, 2 GB of RAM memory, Wi-fi connectivity, USB ports and is powered by a 2-watt system for use in power-deficit areas.
The seven- and nine-inch (18- and 23-centimetre) Linux-based touchscreen gadget, which can be run on solar-power, in addition to the battery-operated system, is likely to be introduced in higher-education institutions next year.
The device was developed by research teams comprising students, professors and experts from the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Sciences.
India's education policy aims at supplying connectivity to colleges and universities, providing low-cost and affordable access and computing devices for students and teachers and offering high-quality e-content free of cost to students.
The government spends just about 3 per cent of gross domestic product annually on education. The literacy rate has shown steady improvement over the past few years to reach over 65 per cent of India's 1.2-billion population.