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ViewSonic brings tablets to US, says Apple afraid of 7-inch

updated 11:15 am EDT, Mon November 1, 2010

ViewSonic ViewPad hits US as

ViewSonic today planned out the US launches of its two tablets. The ViewPad 10 is both its most direct competitor to the iPad and also one of the more unique designs. It boots both Android 1.6 and Windows 7 and has netbook-like hardware, including a 10-inch screen, a 1.66GHz Atom, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash storage.

The design carriers a 1.3-megapixel webcam for video chat and a microSDHC card for storage, both of which can be used in either OS. It ships the latest of the two tablets on show, arriving in early 2011 for a relatively steep $629.

Its ViewPad 7 is a more conventional design and scales back significantly compared to most of its challengers, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Android 2.2 slate has a seven-inch screen with the same 800x480 resolution as smaller smartphones but is counting on having both back (three-megapixel) and front (0.3-megapixel) cameras. Just 512MB of storage is onboard and leaves microSDHC to handle extra space, although the device has an unlocked 3G connection.

The ViewPad 7's cost cutting helps keep the price down to $479 for a launch due at the very end of this year.

Company marketing VP Adam Hanin was confident that both models could compete in the marketplace and in an interview posted today thought it might bring a challenge to the iPad. He acknowledged to Laptop that Steve Jobs' attack on seven-inch tablets was likely carefully considered but may have been an attempt to downplay a category in which Apple wasn't going to compete and which could be a threat.

"Steve Jobs never says anything without thinking through it carefully," Hanin said. "But I think in this case he may be a little afraid of this category. And he's finding whatever he can to attack because he sees [seven-inch tablets] as a challenge to the dominance of the iPad."

The ViewSonic executive actually agreed with Jobs that custom Android created problems and took pride in running stock Android on the ViewPads. However, he also challenged Google's own warnings against using Android 2.2 on tablets. A stock UI optimized only for phones was "working great" on the tablet, he said. The low resolution helps for the tablet, since it means most if not all Android apps will run without having to scale or resize. Samsung has had to address it as a major limitation on the 1024x600 Galaxy Tab and either automatically scales apps or runs them in a reduced window.

ViewPad 7

ViewPad 10

by MacNN Staff



  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple has the iPhone 4 & iPod touch

    I am a happy user of the iPod replacement: iPhone 4.

    The current iPad may retain the screen size and shrink a bit down the road. Those who think the iPad is too big will also think the 7" tablet is not that much smaller.

    Put any of these short-screen tablets next to the iPhone's 1024 x 768 and you will notice why 1024 x 768 is more usable.

    It's more like ViewSonic is not afraid of losing money. We'll see.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I meant iPad replacement

    Portability is very important, so I have the iPhone 4 rather than iPad. Even if the iPad were available in 7", I wouldn't go near it. After all, there is not a pocket big enough for it.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seems Steve's Alone

    "Steve Jobs never says anything without thinking through it carefully," Hanin said. "But I think in this case he may be a little afraid of this category. And he’s finding whatever he can to attack because he sees [seven-inch tablets] as a challenge to the dominance of the iPad."

    Too bad Hanin didn't think through his comments carefully.

    But it's a good thing they've got Android on their unit for when Windows 7 turns it into the CrashPad.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wait, what?

    Dual boot Android and Windows 7 ?

    is there a Ballmer-shaped hole in Hanin's office wall?

    Wow - they kept the price down to $479 - you mean I can sacrifice iOS goodness and a tinier scaled res screen *and* save the price of a WalMart DVD?

    Pinch me!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why would Apple be afraid of competing

    in the 7" tablet category? Apple would still be able to take advantage of high production runs to minimize costs on a 7" model. The rivals should be happy that Apple doesn't have an interest in 7" models because Apple would basically eat up the component supplies for all those smaller companies. Apple is buying flash memory in huge amounts and should easily be able to undercut smaller tablet rivals in storage capacity for the same price. I'm absolutely sure that most companies are building 7" tablets because either 9.7" touch displays are in short supply or they're relatively expensive and would boost the cost of tablets higher than the iPad. The two most expensive components in the iPad is the display and flash memory so Apple can easily beat out tablet rivals in those categories.

    I don't believe there's anything wrong with a 7" tablet, but I figure that even the trend of netbook screen sizes kept getting larger as time went by because consumers wanted the larger screens. I might be wrong, but I'd also figure you could get more battery storage in a larger case with all storage technology being equal. The iPad looked as though it had a lot of room in it for either more components or a larger battery.

    I'd like to know what a company with a $50 billion war chest needs to worry about. Apple is projected to earn around $4 billion cash every quarter next year. That much money gives a company so much flexibility to do whatever is necessary to stay on top with pre-emptive deals for a whole year's worth of components. I think ViewSonic is way out of line implying that Apple is fearful of rival tablets. Undoubtedly, Apple did a lot of research on what consumers prefer.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Chaotic Competition

    Apple has no fear of 7" tablets. They worked on tablet concepts for nearly a decade. Yo can bet Apple to a HARD look at every screen size and resolution before opting for the iPad size/resolution. 20 years ago, a 1024 x 768 monitor was a 65 lb. CRT that cost $2500!

    Apple can sit back and steadily improve the entire iOS ecosystem while the mythical "competition" rips each other to shreds and struggles over which OS is functional enough and stable enough for the smorgasbord of hardware configurations are being cobbled together.

    I'm just glad that in Apple, FINALLY there's a no compromise company that leads the field!

  1. PRoth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple is not afraid, it's smart!

    Since Apple came to market with a viable consumer tablet basically alone in the industry, it offered a model that was the sweet-spot between usability, affordability and profit margin. It could do the basics that everyone would want to buy it for and charge a premium for it. As that product matures and its users expectations of the device mature, you can bet your bottom dollar Apple would consider or reconsider introducing a 7" model. But I doubt they ever would... why fragment your product lineup too far. Look how that's working out for Android devices...

  1. Raman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MacBook Air 10"

    If you guys haven't seen the MacBook Air 10" you need to. It can go anywhere my iPad can go. Steve made a netbook *and* smaller pad competitor in 1 product. Granted it doesn't have a touchscreen but the magic trackpad is excellent.

  1. Grendelmon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Apple has the iPhone 4 & iPod touch

    The iPhone 4/iPod Touch screen resolution is 640x960.

  1. johncarync

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It runs what on which?

    So the 10" tablet runs Windows 7 or Android 1.6 and the 7" tablet runs Android 2.2? It's amazing how a company can offer just two products in a category and yet still find a way to make it confusing to the customer.

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