AMIDA SIMPUTER

September 12, 2009 at 10:07 PM (Non Technical)

Hey hey wait wait,now don’t ask me that “Oh god I know computer, now what is this simputer?”,please have patience and read about this, yes today I am telling about a computer like device simputer.

Simputer is a self-contained, open hardware handheld computer, designed by the Simputer Trust, a non profit organization formed in November 1999 by seven INDIAN scientists and engineers led by Dr. Swami Manohar.

The word Simputer is an acronomy for “simple inexpensive and multilingual people’s computer”. Then what magic is there in this small and cute device??? Wait is it really cute?? I felt like that, oh no you want to see it??

then click on this link, http://www.gadgetsonthego.net/pics/amida.jpg

Features of Simputer:

1> Text-to-Speech.

        It includes Text-to-Speech software. It is a kind of speech recognition, and you all know about this, Microsoft is still struggling to give an accuracy in this technology. Simputer has this nice feature.

       Does your iPhone has this feature(built in)??

2> Linux OS.

       It runs GNU/Linux Operating System, then it must be stable, what do you say?

3> Hand writing.

        Amida allows you to write on every screen using stylus and send such writings by mail. This is the world’s first instance of any computer permitting annotation and e-mailing. One can write in any language, so far the first time the knowledge of english is not pre-requisite to use hand held computers.

 http://www.bel-india.com/BELWebsite/images/simputer.jpg

        ” Does your iPhone has this feature??”

        The power of annotation is not limited to writing, it has been logically extended to speaking.

4> Interfacing.

         Our Amida simputer can be connected to a CDMA mobile phone and is used to browse the internet- while moving. This has two USB slots and opens the door to a wide variety of USB- compatible devices.

http://www.desktoplinux.com/files/mics/amida_reliance_phone.jpg

         Amida also connects to GSM and GPRS enabled phones for network connectivity, being enabled to connect to WiFi. Twin USB ports allow Amida to be connected to a range of HP and Epson printers as well as allow small portable battery operated printers to be connected for bill printing purposes.

5> Smart Cars reader/writer.

          World’s first hand held computer that has built-in integrated Smart Card reader/writer.

6> Scribble Pad.

           Doodle or take down a diagram during a meeting. With your own hand, draw diagram and save it in your Amida. “Does iPhone has this feature?”.

 Deployment:

     1> Simputers were extensively used by the Government of Karnataka to automate the process of land records procurement.

    2> In 2005 they were used in a variety of innovative and interesting applications, such as automobile engine diagnostics (Mahindra nad Mahindra in Mumbai).

    3> Used for Electronic Money transfer between UK, Ghana and others.

    4> Recently simputers are deployed by police force to track traffic offenders and issue traffic tickets.

    5> Used by Indian Military.

  Is your iPhone has all such features? Hand writing and e-mailing, text to speech built-in, Scribble pad, Smart card reader/writer, have you ever found such a great device?.

  Yes this is all about our Amida designed and developed by our scientists. You might observed that i compared this with iPhone and you might feel that I am wrong because iPhone is a mobile phone and Amida simputer is a hand held computer, so I should not compare the both. My dear friends I just compared the features that are there in Amida but not there in any other device in this world. Only Amida simputer has all. And finally I want to ask you a question i.e,

“Why iPhone is so popular? Why not simputer?” as you know there are so many advanced features hidden in Amida, then why  it is not popular? Infact most of the people are not even know about this, I am still in search of answer. My friend and I discussed regarding this in our room, that time I thought of writing a blog on this, and now I am expecting some response from your end, try to answer for my question, am waiting……..

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26 Comments

  1. ravi said,

    Dear Sadanand,

    Its the useability, sturdiness, reliable performance, which makes the gadget popular. Ask the bangalore traffic police how the gadget performed !! Ask the indian army how pathetic it worked in the field tests…..

    I have more specific stories about the simputer, if you are interested….

    Ravi

    • Swami Manohar said,

      Hi Sadanand, Thanks for the posting on the Simputer. Came across it just now.
      Will try to respond to the comments one by one.

      First, I will restrict my comments to only the Amida SImputer. The examples Ravi gives (police, army) refer to Simputers made by Encore and I will let somebody from Encore respond.

      First, the Amida SImputer has a successor: GeoAmida (see http://www.geoamida.com) and it is slowly gaining lot of traction in teh areas where the original Simputer was targetted: NREGA, BPL benefits distribution, Public Disrtibution system and so on.

      It takes a long time for a revolutionary technology to find its way in to the market. The Simputer protoypes were made in 2001, the commercial product, the Amida SImputer in 2004 and the followup product in 2009.
      Another point to note is that no government money was involved in building the Simputer. (except our salaries while at IISc 🙂 In fact if the government had provided early support in 2001 we could have created a globally successful product by now. I believe the GeoAmida has the potential.

  2. Sadanand said,

    Hi Ravi,

    Thanks for your comments,
    and this —> ” I have more specific stories about the simputer, if you are interested…. ”

    Please can you send me more details?? here is my mail id steggi.cs@gmail.com

  3. Shridevi said,

    Hi,
    Amida simputer is not a just a computer,but much more.It is small,light,infinitely versatile and packed with enough power to take computing out of the room into the open world.Simputer mainly focus on a user audience that is either illiterate or at least technically illiterate.
    On the other hand the licensing deal is strange,extremely expensive and unfair. “A one -time license fee will cost $25.000 for firms in developing countries and $250,000 for those in developed countries”,said by trust officials.

    • Swami Manohar said,

      You misunderstand the license fees: 25000$ is dirt cheap for the rights to manufacture without royalty a device like the Simputer. 250000 is still very cheap for multinationals. Because it was so cheap, the SGPL did not take off. No company wants to put out its technology at such low licensing costs. A device equivalent to the Amida Simputer costs upwards of several million dollars for established companies like HP to build. We built the Amida simputer and brought it to commercial production at less than a million dollars (of investor money and revenues, NOT government support). We got an interest-free loan of 2 crores from Technology development Board which has been fully repaid.

  4. vandana said,

    Hi le…

    First of all ,I always feel nice the topic u choose to write in ur Blog……
    Well, to say about simputer its the great thing discovered. specially it helped lot many police person(in bangalore). I agree with U..

    u have asked question that y we not using this?
    1st of all i think u know its Licence cost is too high .
    2: if Laptops are cheaper than this, y to go for simputer? rgt?
    3: Normal people like Us , look for efficinecy of device and more importantly the cost..
    Iphone came into demand just becoz its in reach for every person , who are interested in gadgets. But who wil afford for simputer. (I think only Indain Government, thatsy many ppl dont go to bother for this device)..

  5. Kuruvila Zachariah said,

    Thank you for the information on the Simputer.

    Please tell me where I can buy one and the price.

  6. Cdatta said,

    hello.
    i have been using the amida simputer since 2004, and i find it very convenient as a pda, note taker, game player (limited). unfortunately it was not marketed aggressively, and it is not easy to port normal linux apps into it, that is my experience. you need minicom to transfer files, and so on.
    But for its price and for the time it was introduced, it was revolutionary. Again, I do not know if further development was done to bring out improved/better versions.

    For Kuruvilla Zachariah, you can contact Mr. Rajendran, Sr. manager HHD/MMF, Bharat Electronics Ltd., Jalahalli, Bangalore 560 013.

    • Swami Manohar said,

      Dear Cdatta, First thanks very much for buying an Amida Simputer. Many people have given many reasons why the Amida Simputer did not take off.. But in my understanding the primary reason is that Indians have very high reluctance to put money in new technology products or new any-product without global branding. We got tons of advise from many as to what we should be doing, but if every other such person had invested in an Amida Simputer and expected product improvement as a customer we would have scaled great heights.

    • Anjan said,

      Hi,
      I purchased an AMIDA in 2004 … it was indeed a revolutionary device with good potential ….. but i did face many problems especially with the screen and it not booting…. my amida was fully replaced twice during the warranty period !!! I still have it but unfortunately the touch screen is not able to sense touch !!! can it be repaired now?

  7. Ravi Mani said,

    I think it boils down to marketing and focus on commercial success.
    Simputer was developed by a group of scientists who had great brains and innovation but were neither marketing nor commercial geniuses.
    If India like US had a community of techies who can spot an opportunity and turn it into a commercial success, the product would have been a global success.
    Few questions:
    – Does the simputer have features to be a low cost competitor to iPad?
    – Is there any active group / forum of Simputer users / whizzes out there

    • Sadanand said,

      @Kuruvila Zachariah: dear Kuruvilla if you buy it then please share your experience with all of us and with your friends . Thank you very much.

      @Cdatta : Thanks for the information.

      @ Ravi Mani : dear Ravi According to my knowledge simputer can not be a competitor for iPad, because now it is not under active enhanced development. If it is marketed aggressively and if they did enhance its design and UI definitely it will be a competitor for iPad.

      And coming to your second point : As much I know there are no active discussion forums . But there is one that i can find in internet and I don’t think people are making use of it and there are no active discussions held on it. But you can try to ask your queries in it, You may or may not get reply for that, but Hope for the Best.

      So here is the link for Simputer discussion forum :
      http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/discussion/Simputer

  8. Swapnil said,

    hi, i have got 2 Simputers recently abd they rock!

    • C. Datta said,

      Mr. Swapnil
      Could you please give some details, re cost, specs, etc and when and where you bought these ?
      TIA.
      cdatta.

  9. Divik said,

    Good to see this post on Amida.

    Amida no doubt didn’t succeed in the market but i dont think any one who really knows about it can question the technological innovation. In terms of features it was far ahead of the comparable products available ten years back.

    It’s unfortunate that such a great innovation but hats off to the great people who dared to bring out this innvation from campus, manufacture indigenously & bring it to market as in indian brand.

    I am sure it would have been far easier for them to sell the innovation to a company in US / Europe, which would have manufactured it for cheap in China and sold to us in India with big bang marketing.

  10. Nivedita Angadi said,

    Hi Sadu,
    Nice blog on Innovative product by Indian Scientists and Engineers. Your each blog has something special message in it…!!
    When I read the blog and comments by all ..I agree with some points regarding the issue why Simputer is not that popular as iPhone or any other foreign brands..that it seems Indians are more fascinate about global brand rather than Our own product or brand. Reasons are many. One of the reasons is lack of enough advertisement by Indian brands…I feel advertisement has power to attract customers or increase the usage of product and intern improving product quality by feed back of users.
    Our Scientist, Engineers developing world class innovative products, but we (most of the Indians) do not know our products/services.
    This fact making world to see India as Outsourcing country ,that is hub of only service providing country..!! (Not much innovative work !!)
    This is my view ..!!
    Anyways thank you very much for putting light on Indians Innovations and Products..!!

  11. shivanand said,

    cost ??? and further evolution is almost nil..
    customer attitude is like buy stuff for a life time kind…
    only 10% of software engineers go for experimenting..

  12. Sadanand Teggi said,

    @shiv: Yes I agree with you, cost is not more than 10K by sure , regarding further evolution : you can go through all the comments you will get about it.

    “customer attitude is like buy stuff for a life time kind” , absolutely correct , but my point of view is completely different. This blog indirectly point out our Indian MNC companies .
    let me explain, this device is invented in 2004 , by that time we not even know about iPhone , even not apple was so popular . If some indian companies like TCS, WIPRO, HCL shown interest in this product , and if they did buy the licensing of that device , and if they invested to improve the device features, its look etc. Then who knows now everybody will be having Amida instead of iPhone !!!

    Just imagine if such a device did come at the time of 2004 ( 6yrs back ), by this time it could hv been developed as a wonderful device today.

    Tata and Reliance both did release many models of mobiles , and we all know how they are, if some one did buy this product’s license and if they did invest & did some R&D on the device and its feature , now we all will be having this device in our hand today , with multi touch, handwriting recognition , anywhere anytime internet access(3G) , many more innovative features . We(Indians) did mistake , and now we have to struggle to beat iPhone 😦

  13. Bhavesh Gujjar said,

    Dear Sadanand,

    I am interested to buy Amida Simputer for RND work.
    Can you guide me for where to purchase this device and what is the price in INR.

    Thanks & Regards

    • Sadanand Teggi said,

      Hi Bhavesh,
      It is nice to see your interest in Amida Simputer device.

      Right now Amida simputer is not available in market, But its successor
      Geo Amida is avalable http://www.geoamida.com/

      You can order for Geo amida by online , here is the link
      http://www.geoamida.com/geoamida.html

      And about the price, I think you can get it in the site which I mentioned above

      You can also contact the company directly, everything is given in detail in the above link.

  14. Shantanu Muni said,

    Require support to enable dialup under CDMA USB MODEM accessing internet, the details on Model is given below.

    Here one of my client would like to use Internet using our CDMA USB Modem using BEL AMIDA 4200.

    Need your confirmation for giving the same services.

    Please feel free to contact the undersign in case there is any query.

    CDMA USB Modem Type which work on Linux Platform are
    • Modem Haier CE100: USB Modem (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Epivalley SEC 8089 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Epivalley SXC 1080 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Huwei EC 152 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Huwei 1261 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz

  15. Shantanu Muni said,

    Dear Dr Swami Manohar,

    Require support to enable dialup/ install new package under CDMA USB MODEM for accessing internet, the details on Model is given below.

    Here one of my client would like to use Internet using our CDMA USB Modem using BEL AMIDA 4200.

    Need your confirmation for giving the same services.

    Please feel free to contact the undersign in case there is any query.

    CDMA USB Modem Type which work on Linux Platform are
    • Modem Haier CE100: USB Modem (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Epivalley SEC 8089 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Epivalley SXC 1080 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Huwei EC 152 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz
    • Huwei 1261 (USB 2.0 compatible with USB 1.0/1.1); CDMA 2000 1x, EVDO Rev A 800MHz/1900MHz

    Thanks,
    Shantanu Muni
    Reach me: +91-9038099893

  16. c. datta said,

    hello amida users/developers,
    is it possible to repair the amida simputer by oneself ?
    any help will be appreciated.
    thanks in advance.
    c.datta

    • Sadanand Teggi said,

      Hello,
      I did mail you, please check and reply me .

  17. c.datta said,

    can the amida simputer be ‘hard-reset’ by switching the device ON when keeping the reset pin in the back pressed ? this is how the palm Vx is ‘hard reset.
    A reply or any other suggestion to reset the amida simputer will be appreciated. TIA.

    • Sadanand Teggi said,

      Sir ,
      I am not finding any such information .
      I will try to get it some how . If I find then surely I will reply you with an answer …

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