Community Computing

This month's Software Development Magazine's newsletter (DevTalk) talks about Simputer. For those who don't know what it is, Simputer(Simple, Inexpensive, Mobile Computer) is a handheld device which has been designed by students and professors from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore, and engineers from the Bangalore-based design company Encore Software Ltd. The Simputer runs on Linux and packs 32 MG of RAM and 16 MG of Flash memory. At about $200, Simputer is costly for most indians, rural or otherwise. But with its smart-card reader, Simputer extends access from the community to the individual: For the cost of a card (a proposed $1-2) and a nominal rental fee, each villager can buy a smart card that stores all his or her information, and allows Internet and e-mail access. I could not find a online link to the story but keep watching this space for it to appear.