Bangladesh releases $130 laptop

First India unveiled a US$45 tablet. Now Bangladesh has unveiled an Android-powered US$130 laptop. This locally made laptop, like the uber-cheap tablet will hopefully bring advanced learning into even the most rural of areas.

The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina released the Doel (meaning Magpie) at an unveiling ceremony in the capital city of Dhaka. Hasina said that by 2021, the Doel would help Bangladesh to become a middle-income nation. The Doel is the national bird of Bangladesh.

Hasina said, “Every part of the country will be brought under e-governance, while the telecommunication system is being modernised to cut the digital divide.”

Shefayet Hossain, spokesperson for the Doel laptops said, “(There are) four types of Doel laptops, the most basic one is priced at 10 000 taka (US$130). The highest price is 26 000 taka (US$ 344).”

Hossain says that the idea of the budget laptops originated from the ministry of education and it aims to push the laptop to the millions of students across Bangladesh.

A state-owned telecom known as TSS is the producer of the Doel and has entered into joint deals with two privately owned companies wishing to market the cost-conscious laptops across the country.

TSS managing director Mohammad Ismail said, “This is a big step towards building a digital Bangladesh. When villages get laptops at a cheaper price they will be connected to the internet and that will bring lots of benefits.”

Ismail continues by saying that 10% of the laptop components are being produced in Bangladesh at the moment but within the following six months, that number will increase to 60%.

Bangladesh ranks very low in both information technology and internet penetration. This is despite analysts claiming that its economy is “booming”. The government hopes that the Doel will cross the digital divide across the country.



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