Meet RedPad, China’s State Approved iPad Challenger

Chinese Communist members can’t be caught using a run-of-the-mill middle class iPad. Luckily, there’s a new iPad-style Android-based tablet available just for members of China’s Communist party, which allows them to check identities, verify identification cards, read the blogs of cadres, and manage state owned firms, wherever they go.

The RedPad Number One tablet is filled with customized, personalized apps designed for party officials, and fitted with a decadent leather case. At 9999 yuan, or $1,600, the RedPad is twice as expensive as Apple’s priciest iPad (the 64GB 3G iPad 2 sells for $829).

Like other tablets, the RedPad uses swipe control for apps, has a touch screen, and utilizes an A9 processor with 16GB of flash. It has both WiFi and 3G connectivity.

That ultra high price of the RedPad, though, is way above the cost of any other Android tablet on the market, and it has caused bloggers in China to speak out against the party.

A survey taken of Chinese Internet users found that more than 2,000 of them felt that the RedPad was designed to be a “symbol of privilege,” and another 1,500 believe that taxpayers are paying for the extravagant tablets.

Liu Xianri, RedPad Number One Spokesman, says that the price is high because of the number of pre-installed apps that cater to bureaucrats and state-owned company managers.

These special apps allow party members to monitor the media, with one application that allows quick validation of a journalist’s accreditation, and another that lets members monitor blogs and microblogs.

Last month, the RedPad was featured in articles presented by state-run media, but when China’s online community offered up angry reviews and commentary, the stories and advertisements of the RedPad all but disappeared.

[via Reuters]

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