Nov 3, 2010

Viewsonic Launches 7, 10-inch Android Tablets

Viewsonic, a brand better known for its PC monitors, has released two tablets thus adding to the dizzying array of upcoming devices like these. The first one is the ViewPad 10 that has a 10.1-inch screen bearing a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution (which is typical for such a screen size). Instead of using ARM based processors on most other tablets like the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, this model has a netbook-like Intel Atom processor clocking at 1.66 GHz. That, coupled with 1GB RAM and 16GB of flash-based storage, lets it run not only Google's Android OS that's made for mobile devices, due to the x86 based processor (the Atom) it can also run Windows 7 for a full-fledged PC experience. A disclaimer though: that puny single-core processor and 1GB of RAM isn't going to make heavy-duty CAD applications run smoothly. But basic apps like Internet or word processing shouldn't be too hard to manage. Also, from what we've read, it comes with the now ancient Android 1.6 version that too without access to the well-populated default Android Market app-store.

There's a microSD card slot for further memory expansion; should 16GB seem too small for you. A 1.3 mega-pixel web-cam will serve the purpose of video-conferencing. There's no camera at the back on this one. A big unfortunate fact is the missing presence of 3.5G Internet connectivity on the ViewPad 10 - you'll have to rely on Wi-Fi only. It will hit the stores in Q1 2010 for a retail price of  $629 (Rs. 28,000 approx.). So, at the end of the day, ViewPad 10 is no different from a typical netbook with its keyboard axed out and input facilitated by a touchscreen instead.

The second model (ViewPad 7) is a more portable variant that runs only Android 2.2 as its operating system. This one has 3.5G Internet connectivity though. Although it shares the screen size with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the resolution is lower at just 800 x 480 pixels. This doesn't sound too promising when we're now using phones bearing smaller 4-inch displays that bear the same resolution. Anyway, other than the 0.3 megapixel video-call cam at the front, there's a 3 mega-pixel shooter at the back. Surprisingly, the smaller ViewPad 7 has double the internal memory - measuring 32GB. The stated battery life is 10 hours - which we wouldn't dispel as impossible given the low resolution screen and the 600 MHz processor. This one will be cheaper at $479 (Rs. 21,270 aprox.).

All in all, nothing that got the hair at the back of my neck to rise. But hey, don't we need moderates like these to distinguish the better ones off the lot?

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