Today, India announced the unveiling of the new government-subsidized $20 laptop as part of their project to bridge the digital divide between the rich and the poor. The laptop is called the Sakshat (which loosely translates to “before your eyes”) and is part of a national e-learning campaign that will link 400 universities and 18,000 colleges across India. The government will be subsidizing 25% of the broadband costs and providing free e-textbooks to students. Specs-wise, the Sakshat has 2GB of storage, ethernet, WiFi, and 2 watts of power consumption.
Spoiled tech bloggers from the West, however, have a lot of doubts about the sustainability of a $20 laptop, saying that LCD monitors alone will cost more than its retail price. They were also disappointed that no photos of the Sakshat were revealed, nor was there other information given at the launch. I’d like to remain optimistic about this though – the project has so much potential, and I wish the Philippine government would take the initiative to produce or make cheap technology and educational opportunities available to the masses.