XP-Lite has arrived in India.

Windows XP "Starter Edition" - a cut-down, cheaper and local-language version designed to prevent Linux from taking over in Asia - now comes in Hindi, one of India's main languages.

The first deployments will appear in the state of Uttaranchal in north India, where the government will be offering PCs with XP-Lite on to employees, said Ranjivjit Singh, director of business and marketing operations at Microsoft India.

Microsoft is also negotiating with the governments of other Hindi-speaking states in India, Singh said. Versions of the Starter Edition in other Indian languages may be also considered depending on the user response.

Last year, Microsoft announced that India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and Thailand would be test markets for the XP Starter Edition, and an edition for Brazil was announced earlier this year.

In India, Microsoft has partnered with Intel and HCL, a large PC vendor based in Noida near Delhi, to configure PCs with the Starter Edition for the local market. Intel has a large channel of unbranded-PC resellers called Genuine Intel Dealers that assemble and market PCs around Intel components in the country.

"Our focus has been to offer the first-time user a complete package that includes hardware, software and financing," said Singh, adding that Microsoft has also tied up with banks for offering loans to buyers. A PC with an Intel Celeron processor at 2.4GHz, running XP-Lite, will cost about $420, and is also available with a 20 percent down payment cost and a monthly installment of about $9 for 48 months. The Starter Edition operating system will not be sold separately, Singh said.

The Starter Edition offers Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Media Player and WordPad.