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Orange to launch own-brand tablet this year

27 августа 2010

Orange plans to launch at least three tablet devices before the end of this year, one of which will carry its own brand, according to a report in the French press on Thursday.

The operator aims to bring tablets to the mass market by launching a device that will retail, unsubsidised, at less than €250, newspaper Les Echos said, without citing sources. For customers signing up to one or two-year contracts, the price could fall to below €100.

The tablet, which will be made by "a large Asian vendor", will run on the Android operating system and will come with 3G connectivity.

In addition to bringing tablet computers to the lower echelons of the market, the Orange tablet will help the operator take on industry giant Apple. The cheapest iPad model with connectivity currently costs €599, significantly more than the planned Orange device.

This is not Orange's first foray into the world of tablets. It launched the Tabbee just under 18 months ago, a tablet pitched as a family device for the home. The Tabbee has largely failed to capture the imagination of the French market, although it is still on sale. However, an Android tablet brings with it Google's large applications store, and the timing of the launch enables Orange to ride on the coattails of the hype generated by Apple's iPad, which was just a glint in Steve Jobs' eye when the Tabbee came to market last year.

Furthermore, Orange hopes to leverage its recent experience in the notebook and smartphone markets.

Les Echos points out that the telco has already sold 100,000 units of its own-brand Boston smartphone since it launched in April. The handset, which was made in China and is also based on Android, costs just €120 to produce, which means it can be sold from as little as €1, with subsidies, and is also available on prepaid plans.

The Boston is on sale in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Romania. Orange also offers a €120 netbook in Slovakia.

However, the paper suggests that Orange will not pursue an own-brand-only strategy when it comes to tablets.

If talks with Apple come to fruition, the telco will likely launch the iPad on its network between now and Christmas. And it also plans to offer another competing device in the same timeframe.

Источник: Total Telecom

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