The India based IT Service company has surprised everyone by quietly launching their own range of Android based tablet PCs. HCL has come up with three tablet PCs with prices starting from INR 14, 990 for the base model to INR 32, 990 for the highest speced model. The tablet will form part of the company “Me” line that also comprises a popular range of laptops and notebook PCs.
At the bottom of the rung is the HCL Me AE7-A1, the cheapest of the lot and the specs reveal why. The tablet comes with a 7 inch resistive touch screen display and is powered by a 800 MHz processor. The Me AE7-A1 includes a 256 MB RAM, 2 GB of on-board storage, GPS navigation, g-sensor, and an integrated camera at the front. The tablet can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or via an USB EVDO dongle/data card. Clearly, with a price tag of INR 14, 990 or about $336 USD, HCL is targeting the budget conscious segment with the Me AE7-A1.
Next up is the HCL Me AM7-A1, which ups the ante with built-in 3G connectivity along with a 7 inch capacitive touch screen display. However, it’s the same 800 MHz processor that also does duty in the Me AM7-A1, though now at least it is coupled with an enhanced 512 MB RAM. On board storage available is also a more respectable 8 GB along with a 1.3 megapixel camera up front. The Me AM7-A1 also boasts of GPS Navigation, voice calling, and is full HD ready. Priced at INR 22,990 or about $515 USD, the tablet makes for a decent buy, though will have to ward off the challenge posed by the Samsung Galaxy Tab that has become more popular after a healthy (and much needed) price revision.
The costliest and the most advanced of the lot is the Me AP10-A1. This is also the biggest of the three with a full 10 inch capacitive touch screen display. This is also the first tablet that boasts of a 1 GHz dual core processor along with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The Me AP10-A1 will be 3G enabled and includes a Gravity Acceleration Sensor and GPS navigation, among other features. With a price tag of INR 32,990 or $738, this is clearly the costliest of the three.
All three tablets are based on Android 2.2 Froyo and there is no word from HCL as to when we can expect the update to the tablet specific Honeycomb. In any case, only the Me AP10-A1 has the specs needed to support Honeycomb and it is likely to be the first to make the switchover.
Lastly, with the Indian tablet yet to take off in a big way, there still are a few domestic players who have tablets such as the Olive Pad or the Infibeam Phi range on the market. The most high profile of them is the Adam tablet PC from the start-up company Notion Ink. Of course there is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, along with a scattering of others, but no one suspected HCL to be developing its own tablets. The last time HCL associated with tablet PCs was during the Indian government’s effort to launch a $35 tablet Sakshat, though the deal with HCL fell through.