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Viewsonic unveils pair of seven-inch Android tablets

Jun 6, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

ViewSonic announced a new ViewBook tablet line, starting with a Android 2.2-powered, seven-inch ViewBook 730 with a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, all for $250. At Computex last week, the company also tipped a more powerful Nvidia Tegra 2-based seven-inch tablet called the ViewPad 7x, running Android 3.x.

The ViewBook 730 targets those who don't need all the bells and whistles of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but are hesitant to try the many cut-rate Chinese tablets that flooded Computex with sub-$200 pricetags. Compared to last fall's 600MHz ARM11-based, seven-inch ViewPad 7 — which is being replaced with a new ViewPad 7x model this summer (see farther below) — the ViewBook 730 offers a more powerful, although unnamed, 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, at just under half the original ViewPad 7 price of $479 (now $300).


ViewBook 730

The $250 ViewBook 730 will go on sale later this month, says ViewSonic. Meanwhile, on Amazon.com, the still-popular, seven-inch Galaxy Tab sells for $350 for the fairly equivalent Wi-Fi only version, and $475 for the full 3G version.

The ViewBook 730 runs Android 2.2 on its 1GHz CPU, which is backed up with a modest 512MB of RAM and a more generous 8GB of internal NAND flash. A microSD slot can hold up to 32GB for more flash storage, says ViewSonic.

So far, so good, but then it becomes apparent how ViewSonic can keep the price so low. The seven-inch screen has lower, 800 x 400p ixel resolution than the Galaxy Tab, and it appears to be resistive, rather than the more multitouch-friendly capacitive technology. ViewSonic hints at the resistive technology when it notes that the device ships with a stylus, and suggests that the "backlit screen serves as a great tool for pen writing." 

The ViewBook 730 also skimps on the camera, offering only a single front-facing VGA camera. Nevertheless, with the Cortex-A8 processor, the tablet is said to be able to drive 1080p video through the mini-HDMI port to an attached HDTV.

Equipped with both Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth 2.1, the tablet also features integrated speakers and microphone, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a mini-USB port, says ViewSonic. The 8.19 x 5.23 x 0.56-inch (208 x 132.8 x 14.1mm) tablet weighs 0.96 pounds and is equipped with a 5000mAh battery that offers up to 10 hours of battery life, according to the data sheet (and up to eight hours according to the press release).

A power adapter and USB cable are also said to be supplied with the standard $250 offering. There's apparently no GPS, but accelerometers are provided.

The Android 2.2 stack turns to the Amazon Appstore instead of Android Market, and appears to cut more costs by skipping Google applications. It does offer a pre-installed "Sketcher" app, as well as a RiteTouch software for stylus writing, says ViewSonic. Additional apps, many of which are shown in the demo video below,  are said to include Twitter, YouTube, and Mediafly apps.

Amazon.com has helped out with a pre-installed Amazon MP3 music downloader, as well as integrated Amazon.com access, and Amazon Kindle software for e-reading. The ViewBook 730 also makes use of ViewSonic's AirSync technology for over-the-air device updates, says the company.

Stated Michael Holstein, vice president of business development, ViewSonic, "We recognized a need for a tablet device that offers users an excellent multimedia experience with a very affordable value proposition."

ViewBook 730 demo on YouTube
Source: ViewSonic
(Click to play)

ViewPad 7x shows up at Computex

ViewSonic announced the ViewPad 7x at Computex last week, targeting a higher-end audience looking for an Android 3.x ("Honeycomb") experience in a smaller seven-inch format. No prices or release dates were announced for this heir to the ViewPad 7, but with its dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and its quasi-4G HSPA+ radio, it's likely to start at or above $400.

ViewPad 7x
(Click to enlarge)

The 13.4-ounce (380 gram) tablet offers front and back cameras, although ViewSonic does not list megapixels. As for the seven-inch display, the company says only that it offers "capacitive 10-point multitouch" technology. Also provided are an HDMI port with DLNA support, and SRW TruMedia technology, says the company. Beyond that, ViewSonic is mum.

Also at Computex, ViewSonic showed off its dual-boot ViewPad 10Pro, which was announced in February, but apparently still lacks a a release date. The ViewPad 10Pro should be one of the first tablets to employ Intel's "Oak Trail" Atom. The 10.1-inch capacitive tablet will be able to boot either Windows 7 or Android 2.2, and offers 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and at least six hours of battery life, the company says.

The ViewPad 10Pro follows up on the now available dual-boot ViewPad 10, which runs Windows 7 Home Premium and Android 2.2 on a more standard, non tablet-optimized 1.66GHz Intel Atom. Other Android-only ViewSonic tablets include its now shipping G-Tablet, a 10.1-inch tablet that runs Android 2.2 on an Nvidia Tegra 2.

Availability

The ViewBook 730 will be available at the end of June for approximately $250, says ViewSonic. More information may be found on the company's ViewBook 730 page. No pricing or availability information was offered on the ViewPad 7x.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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