Last year, DataWind in association with the Government of India came out with a 7 inch Android tablet for students. Named Aakash, the tablet costs Rs 2,999 in the market; while its subsidised rate is just Rs 2,250.
Aakash, which was hailed as the cheapest tablet in the world, was projected as revolutionary and was talked about the world over. In fact, its makers got lakhs of preorders.
Before the euphoria could die down, though, public sector telecom operator BSNL has come out with an extremely low cost tablet of its own. Manufactured by Noida based Pantel Technologies, the Penta IS701R tablet has WiFi and is priced at Rs 3,499.
Now we have two tablets in the same category – at around Rs 3,000. Here we try to compare the Aakash and BSNL tablets in terms of availability, price, specifications and value additions.
DataWind, the Canadian company that is manufacturing Aakash, on a previous occasion failed to honour its commitment to make the tablet available in retail stores by the end of November last year. Now the company has said that Aakash will be available in stores by March, but there has been a lot of flip flop on DataWind’s side.
Aakash tablet was initially to be made available only to students through colleges and schools. However, the company then started taking online orders for the tablet from everyone, including students. Besides, DataWind has given only 10,000 Aakash tablets to the government for distribution in schools and colleges of the one lakh initially proposed.
On the contrary, BSNL’s Penta IS701R will be available in retail stores and BSNL outlets across the country by March 1.
Virendra Singh, managing director of Pantel Technologies, said to The Mobile Indian, “We have the shipments ready and we will definitely see to it that our tablet reaches the store by March 1.â€
Since Aakash tablet has missed the delivery deadline on three occasions we should not jump to the conclusion that BSNL’s tablet will also meet the same fate.
As of now, though, neither tablet has yet hit the market.
DataWind has two versions of Aakash tablet: The original Aakash tablet comes with much lower specifications and is priced at Rs 2,500. Its cousin – UbiSlate, is comparatively more powerful and is priced at Rs 2,999. In fact, DataWind has come out with another upgraded version, named UbiSlate7+, which also costs Rs 2,999.
BSNL’s entry level model, Penta IS701R is priced at Rs 3,499 and comes with a bundled data plan of 5 GB for 60 days, after which consumers can recharge the same plan for Rs 750.
So basically, one can compare UbiSlate, the upgraded version of Aakash tablet with Penta IS701R because the original Aakash tablet does not have the best of specifications. The price difference between the two tablets is just Rs 500 but users will get 5 GB for data download for 60 days with BSNL’s tablet. Whereas in case of Aakash, users will get internet access on either tablet across mobile networks at Rs 99 for 2 GB, but the company has not provided details about the data service provider.
In terms of pricing, BSNL’s tablet is definitely more expensive by Rs 500, but since a leading telecom operator is pushing for the tablet’s availability, data services or connectivity and support might be less of an issue.
UbiSlate will be powered by Android 2.3 and will have a resistive touchscreen, Cortex A8-700 MHz processor and graphics accelerator, an HD video processor, 256 MB of RAM and 2 GB of internal memory. Besides, it will have one standard USB port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, a 7 inch display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, GPRS, and WiFi support.
The 7 inch Aakash tablet has Android 2.2 operating system, an Arm 11 366 MHz processor, a 2100 mAh battery, WiFi, and support for a 3G modem. UbiSlate7+ has the same specifications as UbiSlate except for the additional SIM and phone functionality.
On the other hand, Penta IS701R is a WiFi-only tablet with Android 2.3 operating system, a 1 GHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. The tablet has an HDMI port through which it can be connected to a TV. Its 7 inch resistive touchscreen has 800 x 600 pixel resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio.
The tablet has a 3000 mAh battery and 2 GB internal memory that can be expanded through a micro SD card. It also has a VGA front facing camera for video calling.
In terms of specifications BSNL’s tablet has an edge over Aakash.
To provide options to tablet users, Pantel has also unveiled a mid-range 7 inch tablet with capacitive touchscreen named Penta Tpad_ws704c. It has the same specifications as Penta IS701R, but offers, in addition, 3G connectivity through a SIM slot, an inbuilt A-GPS, an accelerometer, and Bluetooth. It also has a 2 megapixel rear camera and a bigger 512 MB RAM for faster performance. It is priced at Rs 10,999.
Pantel has also unveiled Penta Tpad WS802C, which has an 8 inch capacitive screen and a SIM slot for 3G/2G connectivity. It also comes with a faster 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM. The internal memory is bigger at 4 GB. The rest of its features like GPS, camera, operating system and Bluetooth are same as those of the 704C. It is priced at Rs 13,500.
On the other hand, DataWind’s Aakash and UbiSlate tablets are powered by Android 2.2 and 2.3, respectively. Both tablets have resistive touchscreens.
In terms of variety too BSNL scores over DataWind’s offering.
From the above argument, it can be summed up that BSNL’s tablets score over DataWind’s Aakash but the actual performance of both can only be ascertained after a thorough review. The Mobile Indian will very soon do the review of BSNL’s tablet.