It has been a long time since I kept track for developments on Simputer and Mobilies, largely so as I got absorbed in other work as well as was seeing a tremendous revolution in the Mobile Smartphone segment. Infact, if you see my previous posts, I have been personally involved in writing many first time applications specifically using the Python port on S60 devices by Nokia.
Not so long ago I had written a small article on Simputer, mainly questioning its marketing strategy and support for developers (those interested can read this here: http://qbit777.googlepages.com/simputer and a copy at http://tovganesh.googlepages.com/simputer). It appears to me now, that people at PecoPeta (who manufactured Amida Simputer) have probably been thinking the same. PecoPeta (or rather the Amida Simputer) has a new owner, http://geodesiconline.com/, which is a company based in Mumbai. Read this news item for some more info.
Geodesic on its part has taken some important initial steps in reaching out to the developer community as a whole. Like it has GPLed the Alchemy UI framework used in Amida Simputer (see: http://openalchemy.org/), but I feel even this step is not enough to light up the Simputer passion among the developers. To reach a larger mass of developer community, you not only need the software stack open-sourced, but the hardware also needs to be easily accessible (read: can be bought from a local vendor or an online store). And this aspect seem to be still missing in the case of a Simputer.
Another company that has been selling Simputer (largely to Government and Corporate customers) is Bangalore based Encore ltd. Apart from Simputer, Encore had last year introduced a so called "cheap laptop" called as Mobilis, which again seems to be difficult to purchase! However a look at their website (http://www.ncoretech.com/products/ia/mobilis/index.html) indicates that Mobilis has had a substantial software stack + hardware update, providing features like better Linux support, J2ME support, wider connectivity options (WiFi, Ethernet, GPRS, Modem support) etc.
In the end, a feeling of "we have it in us, but can't sell it to others" crosses my mind as I go through the revised product sheet of Mobilis (http://www.ncoretech.com/products/ia/mobilis/pdf/mobilis.pdf).