Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited or BSNL, India’s largest telecom and internet service provider announced the launch of 3 student friendly tablet computers with prices ranging from Rs. 3499 to Rs. 13000. With these tablets, also comes an attractive package of 5GB data plan free for use till 60 days. BSNL has collaborated with Pantel Technologies Pvt Ltd. a Noida based company for manufacturing these tablets. The low cost tablets are mainly aimed at students and offers tough competition to Aakash tablets. The higher end is more aimed at the general masses.
BSNL tablets are called Penta Tabs and are available in three variants namely IS701R, WS704c and WS802c and are priced at Rs. 3499, 10,999 and Rs. 13,000 respectively. They all run Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread OS and come with WIFI and USB connectivity, HD Videos capable and have HDMI out for connecting these to HDTV. The low end version namely the IS701R comes with a 7 inch resistive touchscreen, has 1 GHz Processor, 256 MB RAM, WIFI, 2GB internal memory, has a USB slot for connecting 3G dongle. It has screen aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution of 800 by 600.
This tab at a price range of Rs. 3499, and the specifications it offers, is sort of a direct competition to the Aakash tablet, which comes with a 700 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM, WIFI, USB slot and 2 GB internal memory. As you can see both these tablets have similar specs, however the processor is much faster on the BSNL IS701R as compared to the Aakash tablet. Along with this the the BSNL Penta Tabs come with a 5GB data plan free for 60 days, while the Aakash tablets offer a 2GB data plan at Rs. 98 a month.
The other two higher end BSNL Tabs namely the WS704c and WS802c come with upgraded RAM at 512 MB and have 4GB internal storage and SIM Card slots among other features that gives these tablets full phone functionality, 2MP rear camera and VGA front facing camera. The WS704c comes with a 1 GHz processor and 7 inch screen while the WS802c comes with an 8 inches capacitive touchscreen and a 1.2 GHz processor. Further, these tablets come with A-GPS, Accelerometer and Bluetooth. These features make the tablets really strong contenders among competition.
Pantel Technologies also plans to launch such similar low cost tablets in Mumbai and Delhi, by collaborating with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL). This step will ensure a nationwide reach of these low cost tablets and if all goes well the entry level BSNL Penta Tabs can give some very good competition to the Aakash tablets as the price points at which both are offered are pretty similar and in some respect, the BSNL tab fares better than the Aakash, whereas Aakash is more student friendly in terms of pricing and Government subsidies.
It is thus interesting to see how these low cost tablets fare in the market and how much are they accepted by the public at large, who are pretty accustomed to the features and performance of devices from various international brands, as low price and mass appeal is one thing and actually delivering the goods is another. Whatever the outcome of this competition in the tablet market maybe, it is pretty evident that consumer will be the winner in the long run.