A Simple Plan

Ravi prasad studies the small machine in his hands. Friends peer over his shoulder, while several young children scramble for a good view. The 16-year-old has been told that he is holding a computer. He looks skeptical. His school in Madavara, a dusty farming village outside Bangalore, has a computer: a big one, with a keyboard, a wide screen and all kinds of wires. This has none of that. Instead, it's the size of a datebook and has earphones and some kind of blunt writing utensil. "Why is it so small?" he asks. "This is a computer?"

Yes and no. It's not...