Previously, a $35 laptop was said to be in preps for the Indian market, with a motive to make quality education an achievable target for students who couldn't afford one. Just when the emergence of the device began seeming to be a distant dream, Telecom Minister, Kapil Sibal along with DataWind introduced the "world's most affordable tablet".
Tablets had become a rage by then and clearly seemed to be the next-gen computer. Although, the affordable laptop, which was the original plan, had been in the works, probably and obviously building a tablet may have seemed to be quicker. Tablets have been making a splash, worldwide, through the year and with Aakash, this segment received more boost. Aakash is a basic tablet, while it comes with some improvements in the form of the UbiSlate 7. The DataWind UbiSlate 7, or say the commercial version of Aakash has reached a milestone with over 3 lakh pre-orders, already.
A tear down, earlier by IBN Live clearly exposed the poor internal components and a questionable build quality. The resistive screen has been a big selling hindrance to several devices. But the question is how much are we supposed to ask from a 7-inch tablet, in a price range as low as Rs. 2,500 to 2,999. The device has been crafted to initiate tech-imbued technology for students in schools and colleges, across India. The commercial version brings the tablet within the reach of the masses. We’ve penned down 8 reasons that could make you buy the Aakash in India.
It may sound clichéd, but everything boils down to the pricing considering the price sensitive Indian market. The key selling point of the tablet is evidently its pricing. In fact, it was meant to come with a price point, which would be as low as possible to reach wider audiences. Aakash sells for Rs. 2,500, while the UbiSlate for Rs. 2,999. For Rs. 2,999, the 7-inch UbiSlate has a decent set of specifications to be cheapest tablet in the world.
Another aspect worth considering is the support for call functionality that the tablet offers. Yes, it works as a phone using a SIM card. Unlike the Reliance 3G Tab, it isn’t SIM locked to any carrier and gives you the flexibility of choice. The call functionality is also one of the factors that distinguish it from the Aakash tablet. This sub-3K device has a standard 3.5mm jack, further adding to the convenience of making and receiving calls.
There are devices still running on Froyo, so it's good to see the UbiSlate run on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform. This will also bring in support for the Android Market.
Now, the UbiSlate 7 has a minimalist approach, but it has managed to have the connectivity aspect in place. Several connectivity options and ease of use are some factors that users look forward to, and the UbiSlate 7 strives to offer optimum features within a tiny budget. It supports GPRS, Wi-Fi and 3G dongle. Now, that’s a good deal for a device under Rs. 3,000.
On the memory front, the UbiSlate 7 is at par with many tablets. It has a 2GB internal memory, which can be further extended up to 32GB, using the external microSD card. The overall storage capacity of this tablet, is almost on the same level as other tablets carrying hefty price tags, comparatively. In fact, it takes a step ahead with support for two standard USB 2.0 ports, which allow connecting external storage devices like a flash drive, webcams and more.
Since the Aakash and its commercial version were announced, the question has been about its build quality and overall performance. How long can a Rs. 2,900 device last. Well, we presume at least a year. DataWind offers 30 days replacement warranty, along with a one year warranty.
Whether it’s the all-plastic body or weaker components, DataWind hasn’t compromised on the portability factor. The 7-incher tips the scale at 350 grams, which is quite decent. You can easily slip the 7-incher in your bag.
Display size and resolution
It is nice to see that UbiSlate 7 didn’t settle for a smaller screen and maintained the average or standard, if we may say so, 7-inch screen size (again we aren’t considering the screen performance). Again the screen carries a fairly acceptable resolution of 800x480.
Though debatable, these may be the selling points that would help make the Aakash UbiSlate 7 a success story in the Indian market. Now available for pre-order from here, it will start shipping by late January 2012. A more improved version is also expected sometime around next year, which will add in better processing speed, along with a few improvements like an external keyboard just for Rs. 3,500.
However, the views are based on the price and the spec sheet that the device carries, and things may change depending upon the performance it eventually delivers.