There has been much vaunting on the interweb these past couple of days concerning India's '$20 laptop'. Or is it $10, or $30? In fact, the number of putative prices for the 'Sakshat' device (which apparently means 'before your eyes') comfortably exceeds the number of hard facts that have emerged.
For a start, it doesn't appear to be a laptop at all, if the picture relayed by Gizmodo today is anything to go by. Instead, it seems to be a small (10in. by 5in.) 'storage device' with a bunch of wires emerging from it. Two gigabytes of storage capacity have been touted, along with Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity. That's it, basically. Oh, and 'Sakshat' may not refer to the device at all, but to a related educational web site. Confused yet?
Few of the multitude of stories have failed to compare and contrast this Indian device with Nicholas Negroponte's troubled OLPC project and its XO laptop (originally planned to cost $100, but still well north of that figure). Pundits have furrowed their brows pondering how a laptop could be built for $20 (or so) and pronounced themselves baffled. Well, it's not a laptop, that's why.
At this point I should fulminate about vast numbers of words devoted to an obscure product about which we currently know little. But I seem to have just added another 250-odd to the total. Drat!