By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York — Hisense launched its first branded tablets for the U.S. market here Thursday, announcing two Wi-Fi-only SKUs that will be sold exclusively through discount store giant Walmart.
The tablets include the Sero 7 LT (light), which carries a $99.99 suggested retail, and the Sero 7 Pro, which carries a $149 suggested retail.
Both models will be available starting Friday at more than 3,000 Walmart stores across the country.
Peter Erdman, Hisense consumer electronics VP, said the company opted to launch the first tablet iterations through Walmart, but expects to broaden distribution on second-generation models coming at an unspecified time in the future.
The company is also working to offer an LTE cell-enabled product, but no service provider partners were announced.
Erdman said Hisense has ambitious goals for building the brand, and will begin a campaign this year that leverages print, co-op and online vehicles, in addition to the extensive support that the Walmart presence brings the brand.
The Sero 7 LT and Pro versions each employ 7-inch LCD touchscreens. The LT version will offer 1,024 by 600 resolution and the Pro version will be 1,280 by 720.
At the heart of both tablets are Nvidia processors — a 1.6Ghz dual-core version in the LT and a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 T30 quad-core processor in the Pro.
The Pro model also includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity and nearfield communication (NFC) wireless linking capability for use with similarly equipped Hisense TVs.
Both versions support HDMI cable tethering with MHL support.
For imaging, the LT version includes a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera, while the Pro version will feature a 5-megapixel autofocus rear-facing camera with flash and a 2-megapixel front facing camera.
The Pro also offers 8GB of internal storage capacity to the LT’s 4GB. Both offer 1GB of RAM. Extra storage can be added via MicroSD (up to 32GB) cards on both models.
The LT uses an Android 4.1 operating system and the Pro offers Android 4.2.
Both devices were also engineered for long battery life, Hisense said, with LT offer up to four hours of movie playback time per charge, and the Pro offering seven hours of movie time (10 hours of browser viewing).
Kevin O’Connor, Walmart VP and general merchandising manager, said both tablets will carry the chain’s Vudu movie-streaming and download service app, along with apps for Walmart.com and Sams.com shopping, Facebook, Pandora, Kings Office and other popular apps carried in the Google Play store.
“Today’s announcement from Hisense underscores our commitment to give customers access to a range of high-quality tablets at low prices,” O’Connor said. “This is just one example of how we are working with leading technology companies to expand our current assortment of brand-name tablets, as well as bring to market new products that deliver on quality and price.”
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