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April 26, 2012, 11:10 p.m.
Datawind, popularly known for its association with the Indian government’s Aakash project, unveiled two new tablets Ubislate7+ and Ubislate7C in New Delhi yesterday for open market sale, competing against several other low cost tablets available in the Indian market. These tablets are upgraded versions of the previously offered “Aakash” (Ubislate 7) tablet. The two new tablets have almost similar specifications and differ only in terms of display type and internal storage capacity. Key specifications include 7” display, Android 2.3 Operating system, Cortex A8 800 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM, Wi-Fi and GPRS connectivity, micro-SD card slot and USB port. The 3200 mAh battery is a big improvement from the 2100 mAh battery in its earlier offering. The devices also support voice calls and 3G connectivity can be supported via external dongles.
Ubislate7+ comes with a resistive display and 2GB internal storage, expandable to 32 GB and has been priced at INR 2999 ($60), whereas Ubislate7C has a capacitive screen and 4GB internal storage and is priced at INR 3999($80). With under $80 price point for these tablets, Datawind has maintained its differentiating factor of being one of the lowest priced tablets in the market. For internet access, Datawind has partnered with Aircel to offer a GPRS based internet plan, priced at INR 98($2) per month for 2GB. Currently, only Ubislate7+ is available for pre-order with Ubislate7C being available towards May-end.
The previous version of Ubislate (Aakash) was reported to have performance and quality related issues, so it remains to be seen if Datawind has been able to tackle those successfully in this version. Also, given the unprecedented pre-orders (about3 million as per Datawind) for these tablets and Datawind’s on-going issues with its supplier, it would be a challenge to fulfil these orders within the stipulated time and there might be unwanted delays before the devices get into the hands of consumers.