Datawind, a London-based technology company, announced Monday that it plans to sell the UbiSlate, its Android-powered tablet computer that retails for about $40, in the U.S.
Datawind didn’t name retailers, but said it intends to offer three models that range in price from $38 to $149 with varying specs.
Datawind’s CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli, said the goal is to make the technology available to low-income communities and schools. In November, Datawind made a similar announcement that it was bringing its tablets to several countries in Africa.
“It’s easy to criticize our devices based on specs,” Tuli said in an interview with Wall Street Journal, referring to the fact that Datawind tablets use components that would be considered outdated next to an Apple iPad. “But prices like this can be liberating in places like that, and there are places in the U.S. where affordable technology can have a similar effect.”
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The least expensive model, the UbiSlate 7Ci tablet, runs on the Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, which was released in 2011. The UbiSlate tablet has a 1.0 Ghz, single-core processor, GB of storage and a 7-inch display with 800x400 resolution.
For comparison, the least-expensive version of the most recent iPad Mini’s A7 chip clocks in at 1.4 Ghz, and it comes with 16 GB of storage and a 7.9-inch screen with 2048x1536 resolution. Of course, it is also $361 more expensive than the UbiSlate.
A $100 model of the UbiSlate will allow the tablet to access the Internet with Edge networks, which is the technology the first iPhones used in 2007. The top-of-the-line Datawind tablet has 3G capabilities, has a dual-core processor and runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
One of the biggest attractions of the premium Datawind UbiSlate models, however, is that they come with the promise of free Web browsing powered by Red Pocket Mobile, a small pre-paid cellular provider.
Do you think Datawind’s line of budget tablets can succeed in the U.S.? Let us know in the comments.