September 23: For all those who thought computers were expensive items and not in the list of “essential buys”, think again. A new computer is here, priced at an easily affordable Rs 9,000 (about $200)! And cheaper than a colour TV. Does that grab your attention?

It is called Simputer. And it’s the answer to your prayers.

As the name suggests, Simputer is not for the hitech geeks! It is a simple computer meant for those who think that a mouse is a small rodent and that a RAM is a male goat. It is in fact a people’s computer.

Simputer: The Low-cost Computer [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
Simputer: The Low-cost Computer [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]

This low-cost machine being developed by the Indian Institute of Science in collaboration with Bangalore-based Encore Software will help take information technology to the masses.

Statistics show that India has just 4.5 PCs per 1000 people while countries like the US and Japan have 500 computers per 1000 persons. The Simputer has been designed keeping this in mind. It will help rural and uneducated people get familiar with computers.

The machine is so friendly that it will even enable first-time computers users to browse the web. The computer has a touch-sensitive monitor screen. This means that the computer will perform all commands just by your touching the screen. A voice recognition software will also be part of the package.

For people not familiar with English the Simputer will additionally have preloaded Kannada and Hindi software. Since the machine will use only pictographic icons, users can browse the web using pictures.

The Simputer is not so simple as it sounds. Once people know how to operate the machine, they can use software to perform functions like microbanking and data collection. It can even be used for educational projects.

All the software used in Simputer is free. People can change or customize the software to suit their needs. According to the article published in “The Telegraph”, the Simputer is designed to serve both a low-cost home PC as well as computer kiosks.

Nasscom, the software association, has announced a special campaign from October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, to educate people on information technology (IT). The Simputer is a small step for people to take, but it is a giant leap in getting a machine in every home.

383 words | 3 minutes
Readability: Grade 8 (13-14 year old children)
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Filed under: world news
Tags: #india, #machines, #computers, #software, #technology

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