Russia unveils its own tablet computer
The tablet will use Google's Android operating system but will not send back any data to Google.
Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Vladimir Putin studies a tablet computer. Russia plans its own tablet computers for military and consumer uses. (Photo: Yana Lapikova)
MOSCOW —It seems Russia's defense ministry doesn't trust Google's tablet computers: a new Android device boasts encryption and works with software and a global positioning system made in Russia.
The National Nuclear Research University in Moscow has presented a top Russian government official with what resembled an Android operating system device but was actually a very similar domestic equivalent.
The Aug. 30 unveiling at a Berlin consumer electronics conference marked what Russia hopes will be the start of mass production of its first domestic tablet to rival devices developed by the US Internet search giant.
A major concern for Russian defense chiefs is that data collected and stored by Google could slip into the hands of the U.S. government and expose some of their most secret and sensitive communications.
The university's production unit director Andrei Starikovsky has told Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin that two versions of the tablet will be made — one for consumers and one for defense needs.
"The operating system has all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system but none of its hidden features that send users' private data to Google headquarters," Russia media quote him as telling Rogozin.
Starikovsky said both tablets' production should be launched by the end of the year at a retail price of 15,000 rubles ($460).
"The military version will be shock- and water-proof," he said.
The military make also features encryption and relies on navigation through GLONASS — Russia's new rival to the U.S.-made Global Position Service (GPS) that was added to Apple's iPhones this year.
The Russian tablet will run on software called the Russian Mobile Operating System (RoMOS) and be assembled at a defense ministry research facility while being made up mostly of parts manufactured abroad.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition