ViewSonic ViewPads On Tap For 2011

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ViewSonic entered the tablet PC market this month, introducing two models that will ship in the next few months for the consumer and business markets.

The company will begin shipping the Android 2.2-based ViewPad 7 for consumers late in the fourth quarter and follow it with the ViewPad 10 early in the first quarter of 2011, said Adam Hanin, ViewSonic’s marketing VP.

“We were hearing from customers a demand in both areas,” Hanin said, adding that going into the tablet segment allowed ViewSonic to leverage its display technology.

“We see a slate as a very portable display and ViewSonic’s display heritage will help us with this,” he said.

The ViewPad introduction is part of a wider company plan that will once again bring ViewSonic more fully into the consumer electronics space, Hanin said. Other CE items the company is working on are 3D displays and home entertainment products. These introductions are leading to ViewSonic making its first appearance in seven years on the show floor at CES.

“We are starting to focus on CE again. We backed away from CE due to the economy, but will head back in with even more products next year,” Hanin said.

The $479 ViewPad 7 will feature a 7-inch display and will have 3.5G data capability, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It comes with Google mobile services pre-installed and two webcams, one for video chat and the other for still images. There is 512MB of internal memory, expandable to 32GB via an SD card slot.

The ViewPad 7 is carrier agnostic and at this time the company has no ties to any cellular carrier, a fact that Hanin believes will be a big differentiator for the ViewPads.

The $679 ViewPad 10 is targeted specifically at the business user and to better support that market segment is dual bootable, giving the user the choice of using Windows 7 or Android 1.6, Hanin said.

Both models have e-reader capability and the users can purchase books via the online bookseller Kobo.

“The ViewPad 10 is intended for the business user to take their desktop on the road and for the person who does not want to take a netbook,” Hanin said.

The unit only has Wi-Fi capability. The decision to eschew 3G was to give the user access to Windows 7, which could only be done by using an Intel Atom processor and these are incapable of supporting a cellular connection, Hanin said. To add a cellular capable processor would have increased the size of the device and make it less appealing to business users, he added.

“It is designed for office productivity, and we wanted a sleek design that could not be done with the Atom,” Hanin said.

ViewSonic would not discuss distribution plans for either device.


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