Cheap computing solutions for little-served markets are nothing new, but the Vayu Internet Device, currently being developed by HP for release in India, may offer something different. Unlike the OLPC XO 3.0 or the UbiSlate tablet, it's designed specifically to alleviate people's concerns about using new technology by putting it into a form that's already common in India — the television. The Linux-based Vayu, shown above, attaches to an existing TV, letting people use the TV remote to navigate apps and web sites. More powerful than the standard web-enabled TV or set-top box, it can also pair with mobile phones, letting a phone send photos or web addresses straight to the TV. People who are comfortable with a mouse and keyboard can plug them in and use the Vayu as an ordinary computer.
It's not clear how much HP plans to sell the Vayu for, but the total cost for parts is apparently around $100, making it somewhat more expensive than the tablets mentioned above. The Vayu does offer specs comparable to an ordinary low-end computer, but will probably live or die based on its ease of use, particularly for new computer users. So far, we haven't seen anything about the interface or usability, so we'll have to wait to see if the Vayu can live up to its promise.