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Pakistan military enters the tablet arena

Zafar Anjum | Feb. 20, 2012
With PACPAD, Pakistani military has launched its homegrown version of iPad. The tablet is made with the assistance of a Hong-Kong registered company.

If India has produced a low-cost tablet Aakash, its neighbour Pakistan is not that far behind with an iPad knock-off, PACPAD.

According to an AP report, Pakistan Air Force bundles this device together using Chinese hardware. "It all comes together at an Air Force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, where avionics engineers, when they're not working on defence projects, assemble the PACPAD 1," the report said.

The device runs on free software, Android 2.3, and retails for about US$200. It's less than half the price of Apple or Samsung devices, with the bonus of a local, one-year guarantee, according to the report.

In PACPAD, the PAC stands for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, where the device is assembled. The PAC also makes an e-reader and small laptop.

"Only a few hundred of each product has been made so far, though a new batch will be completed in the next three months," the report noted.

"The tablet and other devices are made in a low-slung facility, daubed in camouflage paint, near, a factory that produces J-17 Thunder fighter jets with Chinese help. PAC builds the PACPAD with a company called Innavtek in a Hong Kong-registered partnership that also builds high-tech parts for the warplanes."

According to people associated with the product, a second-generation PACPAD would be launched in the next three months. It will be able to connect to the Internet via cell phone networks.

The AP report said that during a brief test, the tablet with its 7-inch screen appeared to run well and the screen responsiveness was sharp.


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