IIT Bombay has developed a 10-inch netbook, which would cost around INR 6000 and could be the world's cheapest netbook. The netbook, conceived during the institute's work with the Akash tablet. The netbook is expected to unveil in the second week of February, 2015.
Concept behind this netbook was to develop such a device that would make it easy for people to 'create' information. A tablet is useful to retrieve information whereas a netbook can create it, through processes such as programming and data entry.
The IIT Bombay team has worked on designing the netbook's specifications besides creating the OS image and the accompanying software bundle.
The project's objective was to understand its shortcomings and address them in the next product. In a bid to address the needs of students and to drive information creation, the team at IIT Bombay thought it was important to have a fully functional keyboard as opposed to a virtual keyboard, more battery time, a larger screen size (10-inches as compared to a 7-inch screen on a tablet), greater memory, more storage, a normal USB slot (not a micro USB), while not letting go of the price focus. The netbook should also be light-weight for students to carry it comfortably. For this project, IIT Bombay has tied up with Delhi-based Company Basic Computers, which has delivered 1,000 netbooks for the pilot phase.
Under the pilot, IIT Bombay plans to lend these netbooks to all first year B. Tech. students at the institute who have to undergo an introductory programming course, CS 101. Out of nearly 450 students who are taking this course in the current semester, close to 100 do not have their own laptops.