Questions, if you are a techie..

The pace at which devices get smarter and more intelligent is amazing. The mobile phone handset has become almost like a full fledged personal computer, with features added up in every generation, the transformation is from a mere Voice/Data communicator to a device for Watching TV, or controlling your house hold devices using a Palmtop kind of thing remotely etc.The network is converging showing a clear sign-A future with nearly all the voice, data and other types of media integrated and served together.

Now, in a country like ours who will be able to buy these kinds of new generation gadgets? What kind of applications they can find for these smart devices in our (leave IT guys for the time being) lives?
Both the service providers and gadget manufactures will be looking for ways to develop their products much more cost effectively, thereby increasing their reach. We do have handsets spreading out in a wide range, with costs affordable to a common man.

When it comes to something more than just a mobile handset, the digital divide remains as a fact. I feel this issue is going to become severe in a society where access to information and keeping information is going to be possible only by a few people who can enjoy the benefits of an IT revolution with their purchasing power.
What about the people who are left away, that may lead to a knowledge divide?

Yes, (increased volume ;)), So guys, what about affordable computing?

This leads to another interesting question, what will a common man do with a 'computer'? How do devices like "simputer" will become more effective?

Considering the small and medium scale industries, and the agricultural sector, where can we bring in Automation and Effective Information Management, affordably? Running a business will be more effective, both the producer and consumer can enjoy the advantages like faster processing (be it any field), can get updates on various levels of information in the system, be it present status of my application, how much due one has to pay ....goes like that.
From what I have seen, some of such things would be:

  • A bus conductor using Electronic Billing Machine that prints out tickets, makes his work much easier..

  • An electronic Voting Machine, that makes our fundamental process of democracy much more easy,not only for the voters. but bigtime for those who Count the votes!! :)

  • Information kiosks found at Railways Stations, Bus Stations and many other places..

  • A BESCOM 24x7 electricity bill payment counter..

  • And lot more...

All these are designed for a specific usage, and are more of a traditional embedded system.But, what will be the uses of a general purpose computer affordable to the masses?
Let us discuss!


Bobby said...

I am not a techie !!! chumma.. Its good posting maan ... But every1 would look for the financial side of it. How many would come forward to buy a simputer , when they need a computer or just less than that ? For the middle class, they now have enough money to buy a computer. For the poor, the govt would give computers free ( in these days when color TVs are given free , its not impossible )....and the company that comes up with simputer goes up in fumes !!! This is what would happen in short future.

Anand S said...


Definetly good post. Bridging the digital divide has been one of the motto of some of the ministries of IT. Hence you can see lot of projects that are undertaken by MIT. You can also figure out how much Money Gov is spending on e-gov. So you see there are lot of projects for bridging the digital divide. But there are two problems here, one is bridging the digital divide and another is with free/ non free software ? :-).

If not for the applications like above, what else the common man would use GP computing for ?:-).

Well Simputer ?, its being used in many places like in defence (yes), Electricity boards to note down the meter charges (hmm...using IR).

Though there are other options like tungsten, sharp whose simputer like devices are stable and jazzier but still i personally felt that simputer is much comfortable in LAB environments because of its LINUX as embedded OS and even hardware is supposed to be open source :-). So these features make it still survive compared to other devices..

*bobby... devices like simputer or Amida are somewhat cheaper compared to other hand held devices, and their applicability is (*toatally):-) different from GP devices. And the companies that came up with simputer is doing good * I guess*.( Geodesic has taken over picopeta *mostly* and other company ENCORE software which has hardware license for simputer also looks to be ok...(company performance stats required here badly:) ).

Anand S said...


I have invited one of the chief architects of Simputer *Phaneendra to comment on our understanding of simputer.

Phani, could you please correct us with this post ? also anoop wants to know about adding multilingual support.

Thanks for your time...

RAJ said...

Just happened to pass by. The cost of these devices will always come to picture ahead of the applicability unless proper steps are taken to counter it. Nice post indeed.. Keep posting dude..

Abdul Afsal said...

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