World’s cheapest Tablet computer launched commercially

NEW DELHI: Aakash One and Aakash Two tablets – technically named by its manufacturer DataWind as Ubislate 7+ and Ubislate 7C Models – have been formally launched despite the controversy that surrounded the brand with Indian Institute of Technology – Rajasthan rejecting the models and the government shifting the work to IIT- Mumbai.

Providing smartphone communication, Internet access, tablet computing and multimedia entertainment, the devices also pack a powerful combination of content and applications. The totally indigenously produced models are priced at Rs 2,999 ($57) and Rs 3.999 ($76), thus making them the cheapest smartphone-cum-tablet in the world.

Intended to help bridge the digital divide, DataWind’s new products break the affordability barriers of computers and bandwidth constraints of wireless networks to deliver internet access to anybody that can afford a simple mobile phone.

The UbiSlate tablets are the only devices in the market to offer DataWind’s UbiSurfer browser, based on 18 international patents that can deliver internet access on traditional GPRS networks which cover the far reaches of the globe. In India the devices will offer unlimited web-browsing using DataWind’s breakthrough web delivery platform for under Rs.100 a month on traditional mobile networks.

DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli told that the tablets can be booked on the website of Datawind, and those who book by paying a part of the sum at the time of the booking will be given priority. He expected to clear the complete backlog within a month or two.

Differentiated with a resistive screen on the UbiSlate 7+ to the four-point multi-touch projective capacitive screen on the UbiSlate 7C, both models come with embedded GPRS modems in addition to WiFi connectivity allowing ubiquitous internet access.

The 7” screen tablets support the Android 2.3 operating system that delivers a rich touch-screen graphical user interface which significantly reduces the learning curve for new computer users in joining the world wide web. A powerful 800 Mhz Cortex A8 processor allows smooth usability of a broad range of applications. The embedded HD video co-processor delivers high quality video content making it a perfect multimedia device.

Tuli said, “Over the last year, I have been traveling the globe, talking at the World Bank, with heads of state, at numerous universities and at global conferences, evangelizing the power of the internet to transform people’s lives. We have now created a product that removes the barriers and levels the playing field.”

DataWind’s co-chairman and CTO Raja Singh Tuli added, “Our challenge was not only to create a powerful yet low-cost device, but to truly make it useful, we had to create a technology that could deliver internet access everywhere at an affordable price.”

At the launch event, devices were provided to school children from Guru Harkrishan Public School by Canadian High Commissioner Stewart Beck, Head of Trade and Investment for North India for the UK Trade and Investment from the British High Commission Frances Hooper; CMAI President N K Goyal, and Harvinder Singh Sarna, Member of the Delhi Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.

Delivery of UbiSlate 7+ devices have started to consumers who have pre-booked on DataWind’s webiste, and will continue over the next several months before retail availability. Delivery of UbiSlate 7C devices will start at the end of May.

Beck said the primary achievement was not manufacturing the product but making it affordable.

DataWind also unveiled its ecosystem of partners for providing content, applications and access, making it the industry’s largest collaborative effort to deliver consumers a complete turnkey offering in a single unit. DataWind announced relationships with:

Aircel; VMC Systems Ltd.; Yahoo! India; The Indian Express Group; Get Jar for the world’s largest independent app store providing access to over 350,000 software applications; and InMobi independent mobile ad network.

In addition, Reverie Language Technologies Pvt. Ltd. will provide 13 Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and Punjabi/Gurmukhi. Mango Learning solutions will provide for game based educational modules, interactive smart books and the full CBSE curriculum; RKS Learning Private Ltd. for TestBag, the most comprehensive solution for testing and e-assessment; Intelligia finger tracing apps to teach letter writing for toddlers; Pixatel for utilities and games created for tablet form factors; Poketalk for call
back long distance services; MyJobs; and Blueworld portal to help encouraging a socially conscience approach to the internet.

In addition, a consumer can buy accessories like a solar battery, a dust cover, a screen protector, car charger, microphone and earpiece, external antennae and a USB Memory Drive.

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