2. JUST WHAT IS A SIMPUTER?
What exactly is the Simputer? Put quite simply, it is more complex and powerful than apalm top.
For example, in terms of screen size (320x240), memory capabilities (32MB RAM) and the OS(GNU/Linux). It runs on an Intel strong-arm chip. The chip is known for its low power consumption. The Simputer runs on three AAA batteries or off the mains. It can also userechargeable batteries, but the charger is not built in. Thus, the Simputer is basically a low-costcomputer with multiple connectivity options. It will be modular and based entirely on freesoftware from the Open Source Initiative. Its primary input will be a touch-sensitive overlay onthe LCD display panel. The primary application interface would be a browser that can render theInformation Markup Language. IML is a new XML application being designed specifically for handheld devices like the Simputer. The use of XML-based language is in line with the philosophy of utilizing global Internet standards. To the rural Indian poor, and even to most citydwellers, a computer is probably as remote an option as a trip to the moon. But things are aboutto change.
2.1 The Brains Behind The Concept
A small group of scientists of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and some engineering professionals from the firm Encore Software have designed this simple device, and set up a trustto take it to the world.This device, called a Simputer, will be launched formally on April 25 in Bangalore.This gadget is not a PC. It is a simplified device more like a pocket computer. Whatdistinguishes it from other hand-held devices is its smart card reader. Besides, it also has anInformation Markup Language that is, amongst other thing, smart card aware. It will also havethe use of extensive audio in the form of text-to-speech and audio snippets.An important feature of the Simputer is the SmartCard Reader/Writer. The smart card isemerging as a credible delivery vehicle for financial transactions on the Internet and has becomean important tool for electronic commerce. The incorporation of a smart card reader/writer in theSimputer will, therefore, increase the functionality of the mobile device for deployment of aricher set of value-added services, including services such as home banking through personalATMs and home shopping.