News, Technology

$40 Tablet Comes To Canada And The U.S.

A prototype (model) of the Ubislate tablet. Image: psubhashish
A prototype (model) of the Ubislate tablet. Image: psubhashish

Many people use tablet computers, like the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy.

The small, flat computers, which you operate by swiping their surface with your fingers, are very expensive. They can cost as much as $800.

But one company, Datawind, says they have a tablet that sells for just $40.

Datawind’s tablet is called Ubislate, and it is already widely used in India.

Datawind has just launched Ubislate (pronounced oo-bee-slate) in Canada and the U.S. There is a lot of interest as well as debate over whether it offers enough speed, screen clarity and features.

Ubislate can’t do everything the expensive tablets do, but Toronto Star technology reporter Raju Mudhar used the tablet for a few days and said that what it does, it does well.

A promotional video for the product admitted that its screen is slightly blurry. And an online blogger said it has some bugs that still need to be worked out. Also, the device has a limited amount of storage and memory.

But experts say it’s probably fine for people who are price-conscious and just want a very basic tablet.

One of the reasons the Ubislate is a top-seller in India is that Datawind, through India’s Ministry of Education, supplied hundreds of thousands of the tablet to school children.

Besides the $40 model of Ubislate, there are two others: one at about $80 and one at about $130.00. The more expensive models have more features.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Often journalists and reporters are asked to write about a new product, such as Ubislate. They are asked to try to product and write a review. These journalists have to be careful as there is a ‘fine line’ between advertising and writing about a new product.

What do you think is the difference between an advertisement and news coverage of a product?

Reading Prompt: Purpose
There are many different materials to read and they are various purposes for reading. For example, someone might use a dictionary to look up the meaning of a word, or they might read a graphic novel to be entertained by their favourite superhero. Think of the different ways and purposes that people can read using a tablet such as the Ubislate.

Primary, Junior and Intermediate 
Identify a variety of purposes for reading and choose reading materials appropriate for those purposes (OME, Reading: 1.2).

Grammar Feature: Proper Noun
A proper noun is the name of a specific person, place or thing. There are many proper nouns in this article, such as: Ublislate, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Apple, Raju Mudhar, Toronto Star, India.

Do you think “Ubislate” is a good name for the tablet? Come up with a different name and explain your choice.