Education tablet targeted at students

Among the dozens of new tablets expected to be released this year in competition with Apple’s iPad and Research in Motion’s PlayBook will be a budget-priced Canadian device targeted specifically at students and schools.

TORONTO — Among the dozens of new tablets expected to be released this year in competition with Apple’s iPad and Research in Motion’s PlayBook will be a budget-priced Canadian device targeted specifically at students and schools.

MySpark Technologies, headquartered just north of Toronto, plans to launch its tablet in North America and India this spring, with an aim to have them carried into classrooms by September.

The mySpark tablet, which is based on Google’s Android platform, will be available in two models, with one expected to be priced between $200 to $250 and the other around $300 to $350.

CEO Adrian Hartog, who worked at ATI Technologies Inc., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., before forming the new company, said the tablets are being priced well below established competitors to appeal to cash-strapped students and educators, as well as price-sensitive buyers in India.

“I think we’re pretty comfortable that we can deliver solutions at those prices with reasonable profitability, we tried to be aggressive,” Hartog said, adding that the company didn’t skimp on hardware.

The specifications include a 25-cm screen and a dual-core one gigahertz processor with graphics and media acceleration. The screen responds to touch and a stylus because “all the feedback we’ve gotten is note-taking is very important,” he said.

The company has some operations based in India and the sales potential there made it a launch market, Hartog said.

“They’re a huge population and they’re very focused on education as a kind of transformative factor in their whole economy,” he said. “Education is viewed very, very highly there.”