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PC World: 'Simputer' Aims at the Developing World

Jun 23, 2000, 20:56 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Ribeiro)

"Called the Simputer, for SIMple ComPUTER, the device will enable India's illiterate population to surf the Web. According to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook 1999, some 48% of the Indian population can't read or write. The device was designed by professors and students at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore, and engineers from Bangalore-based design company Encore Software. A prototype of the appliance will be available in August."

"The Simputer is built around Intel's StrongARM CPU, with Linux as the operating system. It will have 16 MB of flash memory, a monochrome liquid crystal display (LCD) with a touch panel overlay for pen-based computing, and a local-language interface. The appliance will have Infrared Data Association and Universal Serial Bus interfaces, and will feature Internet access and mail software."

"A number of large manufacturers have shown interest in licensing the technology, though the interest is currently confined to Indian companies, according to Vinay Deshpande, chairman of Encore and a member of the Simputer Trust. Deshpande says that the designers have been able to achieve the sub-$200 price point since the electronic components used in the device are all off-the-shelf volume components, and the software is primarily open source software such as Linux."

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