New tab in town: Indrajif Sabharwal, MD, Simmtroniccs, launching the XPad in Dubai on Wednesday xpress/francois nel

DUBAI The “world’s most affordable tablet computer” priced at Dh299 has hit Dubai stores. The 7-inch tab in the XPad series from India was unveiled during a press conference here on Wednesday.

The lightweight touch-screen device is available at retail chains like Lulu Hypermarket, Plug-Ins, Ansar Mall and Sharaf DG.

Manufacturer Simmtronics said the tab has become the “hottest selling” product in the Asia-Pacific region with a current order booking of almost 500,000 units.

The High Definition display and Wi-Fi enabled model runs on Google’s Android ICS4.0 operating system, with a 1.0 gigahertz CPU speed and four gigabytes (GB) of storage, which can be expanded to 32GB through a Micro SD memory card. It also supports 3G connectivity and has a TF card and USB port.

By comparison, Apple’s new iPad (16GB) costs about Dh2,000 and is loaded with a 9.5-inch screen, dual-core processor, Bluetooth, five megapixel camera, about 10 hours of battery life (while web surfing on Wi-Fi).

Cheap tablets are riding the popularity wave created by the runaway success of devices like the iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab – which cost about five or six times more than the XPad.

However, quality and reliability have been an issue in the me-too tabs, mainly made in China.

“The XPad’s got price, quality, reliability, functionality – and it’s not made in China,” said Indrajit Sabharwal, Simmtronics’ chairman and managing director.

The XPad’s 7-inch model is just about Dh80 more expensive than the $60 (Dh220) commercial version of the Aakash tab in India, which has been touted as the world’s cheapest tab.