China Introduces RedPad: The $1,600 iPad Alternative for Party Officials

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Would Mao Zedong have used an iPad? Well, probably in secret, but we’d bet the deceased icon of the People’s Republic of China would have approved of the Communist Party’s latest move: the RedPad Number One.

Officially, it’s available to all Chinese citizens, although its 9,999 yuan (US$1,600) price tag has many of the country’s microbloggers speculating that the Android-based tablet is primarily meant as a tax-subsidized tool for party officials.

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In case you were wondering, the most expensive iPad 2, complete with 64GB of memory and Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, costs only $829. What do you get for that extra $771? According to Reuters, preinstalled apps that cater to “bureaucrats and state-owned company managers,” including programs to verify a journalist’s government accreditation and easy access to state-run newspapers. Fun!

Some ordinary citizens aren’t as enthused about the RedPad’s release. Reuters quotes microblogger Xixizhiniu, who says “What an honor it is for you, the taxpayer, that you place a 9,999 yuan into the hands of the leaders!”

MORE: Apple Rolls Out iPad Textbooks, Publishing Software for Teachers

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