Pakistan’s military is utilizing Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware to put together the ‘PACPAD’; an Android tablet which could sell for around $200.
The 7-inch tablet is being assembled at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex air force base in Kamra, northern Pakistan (hence the PACPAD name), runs Android 2.3, and is expected to sell for around $200 – a far cry from the prices quoted by the likes of Apple or Samsung, but still some way short of Datawind's $35 Aakash tablet for students in India. The PACPAD tablet is, however, still at a very early stage of development, and some sceptics doubt whether it will ever come to mass production.
Interestingly, the tablet is just one of the military’s manufacturing projects, with the air force already having delved into making eReaders and laptops. However, not everyone is enamoured with the possibility of a locally-produced tablet. "I just can't figure it out," said Jehan Ara, head of Pakistan's Software Houses Association, when quizzed on the new tablet. "Even if they could sell a billion units, I can't see the point. The air force is supposed to be protecting the air space and borders of the country."
Supporters say that the foray into information technology will be a boost to national pride.