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Simputer Linux handheld for developing world finds builder

1,000 a month, billions to go?

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

India-based PicoPeta Simputer Private Ltd has struck a manufacturing deal for its Simputer mass market computing device, and expects to have the 1,000 first batch to come off the production line next month.

The Simputer is designed to be a cheap, mass market computing device which will fill a yawning gap in developing countries, such as India, where traditional PCs are still beyond the reach of the population. But PicoPetas' ambitions had seemed set to come to naught, as it struggled to find backing for the project.

However, the company said this week that Bharat Electronics Ltd had built 400 pilot machines, and was expected to complete a run of 1,000 in November. The initial machines will be priced at INR13,000 ($268), but the companies hope to bring this down to INR10,000 ($206) within six months.

The Simputer is a handheld, Linux-powered device and is supposed to be accessible even to illiterate users. PicoPeta expects wired and wireless support by February next year.

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