UbiSlate is a new Android based tablet that’s due to be released in weeks and the developers are Canadian. In a world where economies are crumbling on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s becoming more clear everyday that those denizens of beautiful lakes and hockey rinks are leaders in the new economy, both in IT and other places.
The idea behind this latest invention is all about hooking the world up to the web in a cheap way and getting everyone involved. Raja Singh Tuli and Suneet Singh Tuli promise their new tablet, which will give Indians who have never had Internet access before the chance to join the world, will only cost around $60. UbiSlate also promises quality access through cell phone networks.
One of the brothers reports the problem is a common one in emerging markets—the lack of affordable Internet access that allows small rural business and even farmers the ability to use email and get the information they need to be successful. Previous attempts to spread the solution have relied on on Wi-Fi networks that are not all that widespread. There are 800 million people in India with cell phones and therein the two brothers have found what they hope is the answer.
The two University of Toronto-educated engineers say the product will be very good at two specific things—providing decent internet access and HD video for Bollywood.
Almost all Canadians get their internet service from only a handful of suppliers and there’s a ongoing battle over that . Vancouver-based Open Media is one of the groups making the most noise in the wake of a government decision that will allow more competition among smaller ISPs that are competing with these bigger firms. The whole fuss is predictably about bandwidth and the use or overuse of it and how much can be charged. Usage-based billing was one of the sticking points and the people at Open Media got 500,000 Canadians to sign an online petition against user fees. The result is that telecom companies can charge either a flat rate or one for usage. If it all sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Things always do when any government gets involved.
A Republican representative from Texas has introduced a bill to stop rouge websites that steal copyrighted material and websites that sell pharmaceuticals to individuals without prescriptions. Most of the provision sound fair enough, after all no one wants their intellectual property stolen, but a warning bell went off when the article about the bill got to the pharmaceutical section. Pfizer security officer John Clark was quoted as saying this type of counterfeiting was one of the bigger issues when it came to patient safety, and it may well be, but somehow there’s a sneaking suspicion this all might be more about big business than you and me.