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Tablets Made-in-Haiti Could Rival iPad Mini

Haiti's Hidden Treasures

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Haiti's Hidden Treasures

DVD Documentary

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In a country producing few assembly projects, a simple and ambitious effort rose up to provide the first touchscreen tablet in Haiti.


Surtab, a 7-inch tablet based on Android 4.0 operating system and made in Haiti, is a source of pride and hope for all those who wish to use the latest technology of larger touchscreen devices while having the opportunity to connect with the outside world.

“We really want to re-establish Haiti as a destination for appliances and electronics manufacturing,” says Maarten Boute, Surtab’s 38-year-old Belgian CEO. “We put the bar very high doing tablets.” Surtab is more than just a tablet, it's a phone, a radio, and a convenient gadget for many potential customers including the education sector, the Prime Minister Office, some foreign organizations, low-income households, and other companies.


For three years, Boute ran the Haiti division of cell phone giant Digicel, the largest company in the country. Boute sees huge potential to sell affordable tablets to a growing local consumer who believes they now have a unique opportunity to realize their dream of owning one touchscreen tablet, when people in the Caribbean and other developing countries are using these technological tools to gain access to the Internet, watch videos, and listen their favorite musics.


Light, cheap compared to other tablets, easy to manage, this Surtab comes in two versions with one of them having 3G capability, dual SIM cards of up to 32 GB, and runs on a much faster dual-core processor. Both are impressive and are sold in Haiti with an increasing popularity. Boute sees tablets as the perfect device for markets like Haiti, where PCs are too expensive for the masses and programs like One Laptop Per Child never lived up to expectations.


The company’s 3,000-square-foot facility, with A/C throughout, is a retrofitted section of a larger factory operated by the Coles Group, a Surtab investor and long-time Haitian garment manufacturer. It produces on a monthly basis 5,000 tablets and hires mostly women as they are wiser and more skillful.

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Women assembling the Surtab's touchscreen tablets

Belgian entrepreneur Maarten Boute, the CEO of the Surtab Company, said he is committed to provide a high-value product at reasonable cost to ensure that young people and many professionals are able to get this device, so they can use it to satisfy their technology needs.


Last update 01-19-14

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