Simputer to make computing affordable in India

Bangalore-based Encore Software and the Indian Institute of Sciences develop a low-cost, portable alternative to PCs in an attempt to bridge the digital divide in India.

  • E-Mail
By  Vijaya George Published  January 13, 2002

The Indian Institute of Science and Bangalore-based IT company Encore Software have developed a small portable computer called the Simputer that is scheduled to be released in the Indian market by the second quarter. The device, which will be slightly larger than a Palm handheld, will initially be available only to government organisations, and later to businesses and consumers as well.

Initiated two years ago, the Encore project was started to get more areas in India networked and connected to the Internet at an affordable rate. The handheld, which is expected to cost approximately $200, will run on the Linux operating system, use 32MB of flash memory and 32MB of RAM. Hardware features include a built-in modem, infrared port and USB port for connection with other devices.

Vinay L. Deshpande, CEO of Encore explained that the device will support text-to-speech capability and will provide voice feedback in local languages. The monochrome and colour LCDs, flash memory and smart cards for the Simputer will be provided by Sharp Electronics Singapore, which recently released its Linux-based Zaurus handheld in the United States.

To use the Simputer, individuals will need to purchase a smart card to store personal information. Once inserted into the device, the card will provide access to private information. The device is expected to be released in villages and districts as well to enable small communities to send and receive e-mail and carry out financial transactions. The device is powered by three AAA batteries and can offer six to eight hours of continuous usage.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code