The Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci is the offspring of an Indian project run to produce a low cost tablet for schools. The tablet has now been released in the UK at a price point that makes it almost disposable.
While retail giants like Amazon, Tesco, Aldi, and Argos are pushing tablets in the £100-£150 price range, and Apple holds up the high-end of the market, the UbiSlate undercuts even the cheapest by at least £70.
The tablet runs Android 4.0.3, and has on board a 1GHz processor, an 800 x 400 resolution display with a 7″ screen, and 4GB of storage. While the specs aren’t astounding, for £30 ($38) you can’t expect much more.
Datawind’s chief executive Suneet Singh Tuli said, “With recent ONS figures showing that in the UK, 29% of the poorest households have no computer and 36% no internet, we’re working to bring affordable technology to the hundreds of thousands of households excluded from the digital revolution.”
[pullquote]…in the UK, 29% of the poorest households have no computer and 36% no internet, we’re working to bring affordable technology to the hundreds of thousands of households excluded from the digital revolution.[/pullquote]
The concept of a disposable device changes the way we think about, use, and implement mobile technology. Tablets go from being precious ornament to be fondled to a dogeared object to be played and experimented with. That’s why I’m still smitten with my Nexus 7. I’m not worried if it gets scratched or knocked, I can just throw it on a table or bean bag without fear of damaging it. Tablets should be creative tools, a spanner or a hammer, not an expensive work of art.
We need less Rolls Royce and more Ford Fiesta in the technology we’re giving to our students. This will not only save us money, but also make technology more accessible and increase student creativity. The promise of ubiquitous mobile technology is one that the iPad can never deliver. Datawind’s tablet may not be sexy, or have a brilliant screen, or display smooth 3D graphics, but it provides just enough power to make it a compelling tool.
I’m not suggesting that the UbiSlate 7Ci is the perfect tablet for your school, I haven’t used it to be able to make a recommendation, but it’s a product headed in the right direction. If our aim is to get technology into the hands of as many student as possible, regardless of affluence, this is the way to do it.
We’ll hopefully have a UbiSlate 7Ci in for review shortly, and will let you know how it shapes up. You can pick up a UbiSlate from Datawind’s website now.
UPDATE: It’s just been confirmed that the UbiSlate will also be available shortly in the US for $38.