Friday, April 27, 2012

Datawind launches two new tablets, starting Rs. 2,999

UK-based Datawind, which had bagged a contract for supplying low-cost tablet 'Aakash' to the government, launched two new tablets in the price range of Rs. 3,000-4,000, considered to be amongst the cheapest in the market.


Dubbed as UbiSlate 7 and 7C, these tablets feature a 7-inch display, 256MB of RAM and are powered by Cortex A8 800 MHz processor. The tablets also come with a 3200 mAh battery and are powered by Android Gingerbread (v 2.3). In terms of connectivity, both support GPRS as well as Wi-Fi.

The only difference between these two devices is that UbiSlate 7 comes with a 2GB of internal memory and has a resistive touchscreen, while the UbiSlate 7C has 4GB of internal memory and comes with capacitive touchscreen.

Datawind, which had run into problems with the IIT Rajasthan and its sub-contractor Quad Electronics for the much-touted 'Aakash' claimed that it has already done 30 lakh bookings for the new tablets launched in the commercial market.

"We will first deliver pre-bookings, which are over 30 lakh ," Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli told reporters here.

Tuli did not agree with the perception that the tablet market in India was not growing.

"We are getting around 8,000 orders...". When asked whether all these bookings are genuine purchase orders, since no advance payment is required, he said "conversion (from pre-to-firm bookings) is 88 per cent".

Datawind had hit headlines in October last year when it unveiled 'Aakash', touted as the world's cheapest tablet to be supplied to the HRD Ministry at Rs. 2,276 a piece. The government, in turn, had to give about one lakh of these tablets to the students at ubsidised price Rs. 1,100-1,200 each. However, the IIT-Rajasthan, the nodal agency for the 'Aakash' project, had rejected the tablet for not meeting performance criteria and the project had to be shifted to IIT Bombay.

"We will provide (upgraded) Aakash to the government for approval and after getting it, we will then deliver the one lakh tablets," Tuli added.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had recently said that the upgraded version would be available in May.

For the tablets launched commercially today, Datawind has tied up with mobile service provider Aircel for voice and data services, which is offering Rs. 100 unlimited plan for internet usage.