OS & system enhancement software

Indian Startup Designs Tablet PC Running Android

Notion Ink, a start up in Hyderabad, India, has developed a touchscreen tablet PC running the Android OS.

The company, with development teams in Taiwan, the U.S. and India, aims to target the global market.

The device, built around an as-yet-unannounced Tegra system-on-a-chip (SOC) from Nvidia, can also double up as an e-reader, the company's CEO, Rohan Shravan said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

The computer uses low-power, 10.1-inch screens from Pixel Qi, which develops screens that can be read in both ambient light and sunlight, Shravan said.

The product will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The company is keeping the name of the product under wraps ahead of the show.

Notion Ink decided to use Android because it lets the device take advantage of applications developed by the open-source community. Although Android is not designed specifically for larger devices with large screens, Notion Ink has developed a software wrapper around it to support the Pixel Qi screen.

A software development kit for third-party developers is scheduled to be released next year, Shravan said.

The company has decided to develop its own office applications as well as an e-reader for the device, which it will offer free to customers. It claims that its user interface will be the main differentiator from other Android-based tablet computers that are expected in the market. The company will not display the interface at CES, Shravan said.

The product is targeted at both business users and tech-savvy users, according to Shravan. The company decided to develop office applications on its own, as office applications are the first applications business users look for, he added.

Indian companies planning to design and sell devices under their own brands worldwide have typically stumbled on manufacturing and global marketing.

Notion Ink plans to avoid the problems of manufacturing in India by tying up with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in Taiwan. The company has a design team in Taipei coordinating with four potential manufacturers, Shravan said. "We will go with the one that promises the best time to market," he added.

The product, which is expected to cost less than US$400, will be sold through telecommunications service providers. Notion Ink is already in talks with some service providers, some of whom are likely to subsidize the price of the product.

The device, which is said to weigh 1.7 pounds, supports Wi-Fi and 3G wireless technologies. It has 1GB of main memory with an option of 16GB or 32GB flash drive. The device uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and can be charged through an USB link from a computer system or a power adapter.

Notion Ink did not commit on a date for shipping the product, saying it depends on the availability of the version of the Tegra chip it is using.

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