Orange UK has launched its first own-brand Android tablet in the UK, confirming previous rumours that it planned to add low-cost tablets to its range of consumer devices.
The operator said the Tahiti, which is manufactured by Chinese vendor Huawei, is based on the Android Honeycomb operating system and comes with a 7-inch screen and dual core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor. Consumers will be able to buy the device from Orange retail channels as of this week.
The tablet will be available for £69.99 on a £25 per month, 24-month data plan that comes with 1 GB of data that can be used at any time, a further 1GB of "quiet time data" that can be used between midnight and 4 p.m., and unlimited Wi-Fi access (subject to fair usage).
Alternatively, the Tahiti will be available free on a new Connected 24-month plan with the Orange San Francisco II Android Gingerbread-based smartphone from £41 per month. Connected plans are among Orange's more interesting data tariffs as they allow data (in this instance, 2 GB) to be shared between a smartphone and a tablet as part of a so-called "multi-SIM" plan.
Orange also currently offers Connected plans for the iPhone and iPad that bundle texts, minutes, Wi-Fi access and 2 GB of data into a single plan ranging from £46 to £66 a month depending on the level of device subsidy. The new Connected plan for the Tahiti also includes 200 anytime call minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited WiFi, and can also be taken out with two alternative handsets with an additional upfront cost: the Nokia C3-01 for £9.99 and the HTC Wildfire S for £69.99.
Orange has long had a strategy of launching low-cost own-branded smartphones, and has now extended this strategy into the tablet segment.
"We're pleased to be expanding our portfolio of own-brand devices into tablets for the first time," said Paul Jevons, director of products and devices for Everything Everywhere, in a statement. "The Tahiti is a stylish, lightweight device with a great quality screen, which we believe really does offer great value innovation and will help customers to get the most out of their multimedia content whilst on the go."
The Tahiti comes with a significantly lower price tag than the Apple iPad and other Android tablets, and presents an entry-level opportunity for consumers in the fast-growing tablet market. Rumours of low-cost tablets from Orange first emerged in the French press in August 2010.
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