TECH TALK: The Rs 5,000 PC Ecosystem: The Concept (Part 3)

The second option for creating the Rs 5,000 PC (5KPC) is to build new computers. Can a computer be created for Rs 2,000 (USD 40)? Yes. But it is not going to be Intel or AMD who is going to do it. There is a third player in the world which sells Intel-compatible microprocessors and chipsets. That is Via Technologies of Taiwan, which had bought out Cyrix a few years ago.

For Via, the first world is not going to choose it as the CPU option Intel and AMD have done a great branding job, and besides, the users need the cutting edge hardware to run Microsofts cutting edge OS. What Via needs to be (and perhaps is doing so) is to make low-cost motherboards all they need are a processor, some memory, the appropriate connectors and the drivers. If Via does not do it, Im sure someone else will we are not talking rocket science here.

The second option still leaves us with the issue of where to get the monitors from. New monitors cost about Rs 4,000 (USD 80), which is double our budget. The solutions: use older monitors they have a lifetime of many years, or to consider a hook-up to a TV. The TV idea has a problem with resolution one cannot get the same quality of display that one can get on the computer monitor.

The gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox) have solved this problem they use the TV as a monitor. One may not get the same quality as a monitor for text, numbers and web pages, but in some situations, having some display is better than none. I feel that it is definitely possible to get the older monitors they are now outdated technology for the developed world which now wants flat screens. Hardware that is a generation old can be a wonderful thing for the technology requirements of the worlds emerging markets.

Next, let us now talk about the network connection this is after all the lifeline for the 5KPC. There are multiple options here from high-speed (100 Mbps or more) Ethernet connection to WiFi (802.11b cards which support upto 11 Mbps should be available cheap as the developed world upgrades to 802.11g or 802.11a) to cable connections (from 64 Kbps to 512 Kbps) to a dial-up connection (at 56 Kbps). The 5KPC will work under all situations in fact, it should be designed to work with the lowest connection (dial-up).

The operating system at boot-up time could either come off the network (if the bandwidth is high) or from a local EPROM (if the speed is slow). Applications run on the server. There is a big advantage in this all updates need to be only done on the server, and not pushed to the client. This is like the ASP model the difference being that there is not a single centralized server, but a set of thick servers for every organisation or service provider.

Tomorrow: The Concept (continued)

TECH TALK The Rs 5,000 PC Ecosystem+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.