HCL Launches 3 Low-cost Tablets; 2 Aimed At Students & Teachers

HCL Infosystems Ltd has launched three low cost Tablets in the Indian market out of which two are aimed at the education industry. All three tablets– HCL ME U1 (for consumers) and HCL MyEdu Tab- K12 and MyEduTab- Higher Education (for the education industry) run on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system (OS) and have similar specifications. The Tablets is available in stores and for educational institutes across the country starting this month. Let's have a look at the Tablets.

ME Tab U1 for Rs 7,999

The Tablet has a 7 inch (800x480 pixel resolution) capacitive touchscreen and runs on the Android 4.0.3 (ICS) OS. The Tablet is powered by a 1 GHz processor and has 512MB of RAM. The internal memory of the device is 4GB which can be expanded an additional 32GB with a microSD card.

ME Tab U1 comes with a 0.3 mega pixel front facing camera and on the connectivity front, it has Wi-Fi, 3G (through USB Modem) and it also has a USB and a mini USB port and a microSD card slot. The Tablet has a 3600mAh battery which should provide decent battery life.

Additionally, the device comes pre-loaded with 17 applications that include Cleartrip, ME Apps, HCL Touch, Hungama, ibibo ibrowser, Moneycontrol, Ninja Run, Twitter and Naukri, among others. The company also claims that it is providing the consumers with free goodies worth Rs 3,000 and bundled offers that include offers on Hungama (free unlimited downloads for three months) and Cleartrip.com (Discounts on Air Tickets).

The Tablets also provide exclusive access to the ME App store (HCL's own app store) which the company claims has over 10,000 applications. An integrated back up service with HCL Touch (a 24X7 one touch service facility) has also been made available in the Tablet.

MyEduTab K12 (for Rs 11,499) & HE (for Rs 9,999) Versions

These Tablets have similar specifications as the ME Tab U1 but are focused on Indian educational institutions like schools and colleges. Tablets will allow students, teachers and parents to connect, collaborate and share information as well as content over the Cloud. For instance, with the help of the Tablets, teachers can upload homework which can then be accessed by students or parents at home.

MyEduTab Tablets also comes with a topic revision app and a self assessment engine that allows students to self evaluate their skills and knowledge.

The price for the MyEduTab– K12 Version is Rs 11,499 (which includes the price of the device, content and a memory card) while educational apps and NCERT books (we guess these would be e-books) will be free. The Tablets content will include NCERT K12 mapped content- like animations and text in 2D and 3D, solved examples, chapter quizzes and key revision points.

The free offerings will include NCERT text books and educational apps like online quiz engine, my studio- to search and explore free educational content online, online videos, online encyclopaedia and problem solver app. The tablet will also have 1st to 5th standard Hindi and English content and general knowledge (GK) content for junior classes and a parental control app.

The MyEduTab- HE version is priced at Rs 9, 999 and it brings together multimedia content on technical and professional skills, assessments and apps. The company claims that the Tablet enables networking and collaboration which in turn helps in the all round development and employability enhancement for students.

Anand Ekambaram, senior VP, HCL Infosystems Ltd and Head HCL Learning said, "The MyEduTab is a device for the 21st century learner and it will definitely make learning an interesting proposition. Also, the Cloud eco system will enable a learner to imbibe knowledge at his/her own pace and will rope in parents by enabling them to take a more active interest in their wards learning process."

The company claims that educational institutions including schools and colleges have already confirmed to use the MyEduTab in their respective ecosystems.

As far as specifications are concerned, the Tablets are average but considering the price at which they are being offered, consumers can opt for them. The ME Tab U1 will compete with Tablets like Wishtel's IRA Thing for Rs 5,500, Zync Z-990 For Rs 8,500, iBerry Auxus AX02 (Rs 9,900), Mercury's mTab (Rs 9,499), Beetel Teletech's Beetel Magiq II (Rs 9,799). The other educational Tablets include e-class Tablet (Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000), AcrossWorld's educational Tablet ATab (for Rs 5,000) and Classpad (Rs 7,500 to Rs 14,000).