Despite the country’s rise as an outsourcing hub, PCs are selling slowly–far more slowly than mobile phones or motorbikes–because they are too expensive, too complicated to use and too difficult to maintain. What people have been waiting for, some experts think, is a new approach to computing that boils the essence of Internet access down to its lowest cost–and lowest risk. Jain plans to offer all this in lease deals that include easy-to-use hardware, Internet connection, application software and service–for $10 a month.
This formula could provide a long-sought bridge over the digital divide–and may just change the way the average person thinks of computing. The solution would open up a huge new market for Internet service providers, starting in India but possibly spreading to other emerging markets, a possibility that is already attracting the attention of the world’s biggest computer companies. It would become a target for innovation on a global scale, forged by immense competition for new customers, and that would have a big impact on the PC world in the West.