In India, the explosion in the tablet market has been led by Android, not Apple. One of the main reasons for this is affordability. Though Apple had an impressive with iPad, it is the Android tablets that are selling like hot cakes in India.

Android tablets come cheap; some cost as little as Rs 4,000. Most of the cheap ones are not branded and have lousy screens. In some, you have to swipe or press really hard to make them to respond - almost like resistive screens.

In a market ruled by cheap Korean mobiles, Android is king, even in tablets. Again, the tablets that sell the most are unbranded ones from Korea and China. Even the branded ones outsourced by Indian companies from Korea don’t live up to the mark, but the buyers seem to be content as they realise that’s what they can get at that price. The performance worsens as more apps and data are loaded, and require frequent factory resets to keep them going.

Then there are ‘Android’ tablets that don’t have Google Play support, which may indicate that the specs are so poor that it would not even have passed Google’s certification process. Many don’t realise their tablet doesn’t have Google Store till it is too late and are stuck with a dud.

Another mistake people do is to buy Wi-Fi only tablets. There are those who have bought Wi-Fi only tablets without Wi-Fi either at their homes or offices and then desperately try to get and set up a Wi-Fi modem/router at home. Wi-Fi only models may be good for countries such as the US or for those who have Wi-Fi connections at their home or office. If the tablets don’t have provision for SIM cards, at least they should have provision for USB modems.

Tablets are supposed to help when you are mobile, and there is no point having one that can’t connect to the net when you are outside or while travelling.

dinakaran.rengachary@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 1, 2013)
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