DataWind, the company that manufactured much hyped Aakash tablet computer, announced the launch of low cost phablets (tablet computer with voice call facility). The announcement was made on 9 October 2013. The company said that the price of these new phablets will start from Rs 3,999.
Now, a question right at the onset: is it a product worth considering?
“Yes, why not?!” for the time being, having not touched the device yet, that would be my answer.
Although the manufacturing company, DataWind, is promoting it as “$35 tablet” -this tablet PC is expected to reach in hands of the end user for about $60. Isn’t that ridiculously cheap tag for a tablet? Nowadays sixty dollars is the price of a mobile phone with just basic functionality. So, going by the price tag, this device is definitely something to look at. Now the question is how useful it is going to be.
Government of India has purchased 100,000 pieces of Aakash tablet at a price of $50 each. These computers will be made available to students at a subsidized rate of $35. If I think from the viewpoint of a student –what this device is, obviously, lacking is a physical keyboard. Physical keyboards are better if one wants to type a lot of stuff. I am anyway not a great fan of virtual touch screen keyboards. For a student, making notes is one of the most important tasks. I guess a cheap laptop with physical keyboard would have been better liked by the school-college goers. Government wants to provide students with a handy tool to help in their studies –I am afraid that Aakash might just turned out to be a digital toy for them.
However, DataWind has understood this problem and is offering a keyboard case as an optional accessory. I hope that the Government give this keyboard case to students within $35 –because otherwise poorer students might not be interested in spending extra money on a keyboard case.
That was for the students. For general users of tablet PCs the buck stops at performance. Let’s have a look at the configuration of Aakash:
Screen – 7” resistive
Operating System – Android 2.2
Processor – 366 MHz in addition to Graphics Accelerator and HD Video Co-processor
Storage – 2GB Flash Memory with 2GB Micro SD card which is expandable up to 32GB
Memory – 256 MB RAM
Network – Wi-Fi Enabled
Connectivity – 2 USB ports
Battery – 2100mAh
Web Browser – DataWind Accelerated Browser
Modem – Inbuilt cellular and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM)
The configuration looks not-so-bad for a device that is supposed to be used only for office applications and web browsing. But how all these components would perform together is something only time will tell. I can’t wait for having this device in my hands –but frankly at the same time I am not very hopeful about it being a success in market.
For Rs. 3,999 you’ll get the model named UbiSlate 7CX; a 7-inch tablet computer with cellular connectivity. This device also allows you to access Internet via a regular SIM card.
Rs. 4,999 model will has a 9-inch screen and it called UbiSlate 9Ci
Rs. 6,999 model is UbiSlate 3G7 and it is 3G enabled.
“Despite the recent drop in value of the Indian rupee, we have held strong and not increased pricing of our products, and instead, now are introducing new products with breakthrough pricing,” DataWind President & CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said in a statement.
In addition to regular voice calling feature, UbiSlate phablets incorporate web-delivery platform which would allow devices to deliver the fastest mobile web experience on regular GSM-EDGE based networks, the company claimed. “All of the new models are in-stock and available for immediate delivery,” it said.
Operating Systems: Like earlier models, these UbiSlate models use Android operating system. UbiSlate 7Cx and UbiSlate 9Ci use Andriod Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4, whereas UbiSlate 3G7 uses Andriod 4.1 operating system.
Memory: Ubislate7Cx has internal memory of 2GB, 512 RAM. Model 9Ci and 3G7 have 4 gigabytes internal memory.
Processor: UbiSlate 7Cx runs on 1 Ghz Cortex A8 processor.
Model 9Ci and 3G7 also have front VGA camera and support Wi-Fi networks.