One thing we've seen from Google's
hardware partners is a precipitous drop in the average price of an Android
tablet, but one thing we didn't expect to see is a $38 slate. Yet that's exactly what Datawind plans to deliver to the U.S. market. Datawind probably isn't a name you're familiar with -- based in London, the company serves the U.K. market with wireless web products.
Selling an Android slate in the U.S. for a mere $38 MSRP is a good way to get your name out there, though at that rock bottom price, don't expect a quad-core foundation or a powerhouse tablet. Instead, Datawind's $38 UbiSlate 7Ci sports a 7-inch display with a pedestrian 800x480 resolution, ARM Cortex A8 single-core processor clocked at 1GHz, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage flanked by a microSD card slot for up to an additional 32GB of storage space, mini-USB, 3.5mm audio jack, embedded Wi-Fi, and Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich.
There's nothing in the spec sheet for power users to get excited over, though at $38, owning an Android tablet suddenly becomes an attainable goal for families that don't have much disposable income to play with. The same is true of the U.K., where the UbiSlate 7Ci will sell for £29.99.
"The development of the tablet stemmed from the realization that lack of Internet adoption in many parts of the world was primarily because of lack of affordability. Our aim is to bridge the gap by offering cost-effective, high-specification devices and Internet access that offer excellent value to all," explains Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind. "With recent figures showing that in the U.K., 29 percent of the poorest households have no computer and 36 percent no Internet, we're working to bring affordable technology to the many hundreds of thousands excluded from benefiting from the digital revolution."
You have to appreciate where Tuli is coming from. It's easy to scoff at the UbiSlate 7Ci's specs, but at least it's a serviceable solution for households that might otherwise not be able to own a tablet. It's also worth mentioning that Datawind is coming out with higher end models as well.