Since first being released the iPad has grown steadily in popularity. With that fame has come many manufacturers who are hoping to cut into Apple's profit margins with their own incarnations of the popular tablet. The latest competitor may come as a surprise to many. The Pakistani Military has started offering what they call the PACPAD1, a low budget, Android-based version of an iPad. Assembled at an air force base in Kamra, Pakistan, the device is available for about $200.
It may seem rather strange that the air force and military are involved in consumer electronics manufacturing, but experts believe it may be instrumental in boosting Pakistan's economy. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex or PAC is where the devices are made and PACPAD is not the first device they have created, they also produce e-readers and laptops.
Mohammad Imran, a small electronics retailer in Rawalpindi comments on the PACPAD1:
"The original is the iPad; the copy is the PACPAD,"
The PACPAD1 is an even more cost effective device than other competitors of the iPad have been able to offer in Pakistan. While some are excited about the economic prospects others are concerned about the focus of the Pakistani military.
Jehan Ara, head of Pakistan's Software Houses Association reports his confusion on the matter:
"Even if they could sell a billion units, I can't see the point. The air force is supposed to be protecting the airspace and borders of the country."
I don't know what it is like over in Pakistan, but if the United States Air Force began offering low priced tablet computers, I think some taxpayers might object. Then again, most of us have access to computers in this country, they may not in Pakistan.