|Datawind, the company that made headlines with the low-cost Aakash tablet, today released two tablets for commercial use —the UbiSlate 7+ and the UbiSlate 7C. At Rs 2,999 — almost one-tenth the cost of an Apple iPad — UbiSlate 7+ is the world’s cheapest tablet PC. The high-end version, UbiSlate 7C will cost Rs 3,999.
While both the tablets have similar specifications, the UbiSlate 7C comes with 4GB memory compared to 2GB in the UbiSlate 7+. The 7C has a capacitive touchscreen while the 7+ has a resistive screen. Both devices will run on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread operating system).
Suneet Singh Tuli, DataWind CEO, said the launch of the two commercial tablets represented a ‘revolution’ in the way people would be able to access the internet in India. “We’ve now created a product that removes the barriers and levels the playing field,” he said.
The Indian Express app packing in news, opinion and analysis by an award-winning team of journalists and commentators, are pre-loaded in these tablets. The purchase of the UbiSlate 7+ or the 7C will come with an annual subscription to The Indian Express and The Financial Express at an attractive offer of half the cover price.
Despite criticism of the first generation Aakash tablets that were released by the HRD Ministry, the company says they have improved performance parameters in the new products. In fact, Tuli claims that the two devices can now outperform the Apple iPad in terms of browsing speed on the GPRS (2G) network.
“More than Wifi or 3G, the GPRS network has the largest coverage in India. On the UbiSlate devices a webpage will open in 5 to 7 seconds even on GPRS while it may take up to a few minutes on others,” he said.
The company also unveiled its ecosystem of partners for providing content and application. Partnerships for content were also announced with Yahoo, Mango Learning and Reverie Language Technologies among others.
For customers who have pre-booked the UbiSlate 7+ from the DataWind website, the company said the shipments have already started.
The UbiSlate 7C will be available from end of May. According to company sources, DataWind will open production centres for the UbiSlate tablets in five locations across India in the coming months. Currently, they are in partnership with Hyderabad-based Quad, which assembles their products.