If you thought the explosion in popularity of netbooks would put downward pressure on the price of laptops, imagine what the Indian government's plans for a 500-rupee (about $10.25) laptop will do. Reports today suggest that the country that brought you the world's cheapest car -- the $2,000 Tata Nano -- is close to unveiling a very cheap computer as part of an e-learning initiative to get more computers in kids' hands. The laptop will be called the Sakshat, which translates into "before your eyes."
There are, of course, all kind of caveats attached. First there's skepticism about the price. Nicholas Negroponte's "One Laptop Per Child" has run into problems because its $100 laptops actually cost more like $200 to make. The cost of the Sakshat is around $20, but officials are confident that will come down through the efficiencies of mass production. Others, however, doubt that a computer screen can be manufactured for less than $20, let alone an entire unit. And there's plenty of skepticism as to what kind of computing power such a machine will have.