Imagine a super cheap laptop project that could be fine for reading ebooks, writing documents and searching for text based stuff on the Internet. Basically a display that could be some type of mobile phone like monochrome LCD display but large enough to be usable in a laptop form factor.
Something like a 6" 480x360 monochrome display (perhaps even smaller), with enough resolution to be used for e-books, writing documents and surfing a basic type of web. Then add the idea of a big calculator type of product using a cheap and simple embedded ARM processor, and WiFi perhaps even some built-in way to use a SIM card slot for subsidized cellular data access,
That type of cheap monochrome screen and cheap embedded processor could display very basic HTML text-only pages from the Internet. And I could imagine that a whole mobile-web type of alternate Internet could be made that would suit to be viewed on this type of super cheap embedded laptop. Google or some other online service can even process the whole web other than AJAC and Flash content to reformat it to be displayed on such a supposed low resolution monochrome display.
This is the idea of India's "$10 laptop", the Sakshat.
Even though about 500 blogs around the Internet had been announcing this as an OLPC alternative, I'd rather call it a complete redefinition of the PC/Laptop industry.
India's Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) talked about a February 3rd release event happening through the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technologies.
Though that date has no passed, there are
no only fuzzy pictures to be found on the Internet. No detailed specifications, no real concrete proof that this project exists. As Times of India reports, so far, this Indian project is vaporware:
The so-called laptop actually turned out to be a storage device containing megabytes of data info which can be accessed by a user by connecting this device to a laptop. It meant that unlike the internet, this device can display that information that has already been stored.
Although I agree with the principal that we need to build educational laptops cheaper than the XO-1, they need to be based on cheaper embedded processors, these laptops need to use the cheapest displays that we can get. Even if those displays are low resolution and monochrome.
Color displays, the next Pixel Qi and all that is fascinating and we all cannot wait for the XO-2 touchscreens. Though until Pixel Qi launches their first commercial screens hopefully within a few months, until then, then why not use cheap monochrome ones if somehow they can be made to display the kind of text that is needed?