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.