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Simputers Now Available
Jamais Cascio, 29 Mar 04

We've mentioned the Simputer before -- a simple-to-use, rugged, hand-held computer intended for users in the developing world -- but always with a "coming soon" caveat. Well, caveat no more: after three years of development, the Simputer is finally available.

Starting at a bit less than $250, users get a Linux-based handheld with a variety of useful built-in applications (including an RSS reader!). The screen is touch-sensitive, allowing for writing or drawing directly into programs; the mid-range and high-end versions also have a motion sensor to allow for gesture navigation, such as rocking the device to "turn the page." The tech specs are decent, if not outstanding.

What's particularly cool about it is that Simputer users can switch between English and a couple of different Indian languages. The Simputer is clearly built with an Indian audience in mind; it isn't simply a global version of Linux (or Windows) with some Hindi window-dressing slapped on. Even if the technology is neither the most advanced around nor the least expensive available, it has a good chance of success for this reason alone.

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