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July 30, 2008, 04:36 PM ET

India Says It's Developing a $100 Laptop for Higher Education

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Technology are working on developing a $100 laptop, Indian officials said today, correcting a previous statement from the Indian Minister of State for Higher Education, who yesterday said that the laptop would cost only $10.

Another initiative, Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child, had previously tried to develop $100 computers for the developing countries, though finally the cost of the laptops had run up close to $200.

The higher-education minister, who would not elaborate on the specifications of the computer or say if the government would subsidize it, said the laptop would be used for higher education applications. The initiative would be part of a new “National Mission in Education Through Information and Communications Technology,” which aims to make existing distance-learning programs accessible online.

The mission would also include developing a low-cost and low power-consuming access device to make free bandwidth for education available “to every Indian,” a transcription from the minister’s speech reads. The country’s Internet penetration is low, with only 4.38 million broadband subscribers at the end of June for a population of more than 1.13 billion.—Maria José Viñas

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