ViewSonic Budget Tablet to Battle Amazon Fire

Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Fire aims to upend the tablet industry with its low cost and smaller form factor. The Fire has been dubbed the one serious contender to the iPad, which should have a holiday season stranglehold on tablet sales to the tune of 73 percent of the worldwide market. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re seeing other manufacturers following Amazon’s lead into the 7-inch display space.

The ViewPad 7e is ViewSonic’s new budget tablet option, matching the Kindle Fire’s relatively low price of $200 dollars.

Specs-wise, the 7e isn’t terrible for a $200 mobile device, but it doesn’t compare favorably to the Fire, at least in terms of raw processing power. The 7e runs a 1GHz single-core chip based on ARM’s A8 architecture, whereas the Fire runs a dual-core 1GHz chip. Both tablets will include a modest 512MB of RAM.

There’s only 4GB of internal storage in the 7e — 4GB less than the Fire — but that storage can be augmented with a microSD card, expandable up to 32GB. The Fire, meanwhile, is not expandable. The 7e also sports both rear- and front-facing cameras, two items that Amazon’s hardware lacks.

But all this hardware talk is arguably inconsequential, as taking on Amazon in a specs war is a losing battle. Amazon’s hardware is backed by a vertically integrated app store, a movie and TV show rental service, and a free month of membership to Amazon’s premium shipping service, Amazon Prime. What’s more, the ViewPad 7e won’t even ship with the Android Market app because ViewSonic’s hardware doesn’t meet Google’s requirements. Instead, the 7e will rely on Amazon’s Appstore for content. Ironic.

We’ve seen tablets from ViewSonic before, and they haven’t been pretty. The ViewPad 10 — a dual-boot Android/Windows device intended to appeal to many, though loved by few — was a disaster in our testing, freezing up often when we attempted to boot into Android. What’s more, the 7e lacks Adobe Flash support — a feature typically seen as one of Android’s main draws over the iPad — and its battery life clocks in at a dismal three hours per charge.

So that’s what we know at this point, and there’s nowhere to go but up for the 7e. Expect to see ViewSonic’s tablet in stores come this November.

ViewSonic rolls out $200 ViewPad 7e Android tablet

We’ve already seen it available for pre-order at Amazon and spent a bit of time with it ourselves last month, but ViewSonic’s only just now officially getting its ViewPad 7e Android tablet out the door. It’ll be available by the end of the month if it hasn’t hit retailers already and, as expected, it will set you back an even $200. That unfortunately only buys you Android 2.3 (with an SPB shell on top) and not Honeycomb, but the specs are otherwise somewhat decent for the price, including a 1GHz ARM A8 processor, dual cameras, a “RiteTouch” 7-inch capacitive display, 4GB of storage with a microSD card slot for expansion, and HDMI output. As is often the case with low-end tablets, however, one key omission is official support for the Android Market, but you do at least get access to Amazon’s Appstore, as well as plenty of pre-loaded apps including Twitter, Kindle, and TuneIn Radio.

Continue reading ViewSonic rolls out $200 ViewPad 7e Android tablet

ViewSonic rolls out $200 ViewPad 7e Android tablet originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 21:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ViewSonic ViewPad 10e coming soon to UK and Netherlands?

Is ViewSonic about to surprise the UK and Netherlands with a new ViewPad? We haven’t heard a single peep about the new tablet until the advert you can see above mysteriously leaked, at which point Viewsonic confirmed to Tablet Test that the device not only exists, but will be coming out “soon.” The ViewPad 10e gets a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 IPS display (that’s the same size and resolution as the TouchPad and iPad 2’s display), a 1.3 megapixel camera and it’s only 9mm (0.35 inches) thick. We don’t know much about what’s on the inside, except to say it’ll be running Gingerbread solo, rather than the “dual OS” setup of the ViewPad 10pro. There’s nary a release date to be found, but we do know that when it arrives, it’ll set Europeans back to the tune of €250 (about $340).

[Thanks, Andreas]

ViewSonic ViewPad 10e coming soon to UK and Netherlands? originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 11 Oct 2011 14:56:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FCC Fridays: October 7, 2011

We here at Engadget Mobile tend to spend a lot of way too much time poring over the latest FCC filings, be it on the net or directly on the ol’ Federal Communications Commission’s site. Since we couldn’t possibly (want to) cover all the stuff that goes down there, we’ve gathered up all the raw info you may want (but probably don’t need). Enjoy!


Read – Apple E2430A (iPhone 4S)
Read – Fujitsu T01D
Read – HTC PI39200 (Sensation XL)
Read – HTC PJ03100 (Explorer)
Read – Huawei M886 (Glory)
Read – LG LS831
Read – Mobo Krome
Read – Motorola EX225
Read – Motorola EX226
Read – Nokia RM-763
Read – Nokia RM-803
Read – Samsung GT-S5363
Read – Samsung GT-S5380
Read – Samsung GT-S5570I
Read – Samsung SGH-T989D

Tablets and peripherals

Read – Sierra Wireless GTM-2
Read – ViewSonic ViewPad 7x (VS14109)
Read – ZTE V55

FCC Fridays: October 7, 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 12:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Froyo-based ViewSonic V430 smartphone appears in Russia, anonymity almost guaranteed

ViewSonic has revealed its latest Android phone, the V430 — though you’d be hard pressed to tell who made it from looks alone. Putting the incognito design aside, vital statistics include a meaty WVGA 4.3-inch screen, and a 5 megapixel primary camera paired with a VGA front-facing camera, all chugging along on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. ViewSonic has cut down to only three buttons below the screen, a change from the four-button setup we’ve seen on its previous Android tablets and phones. Sadly, the Android version number has been similarly reduced — the V430 is apparently running Android 2.2, not the Android 2.3 Gingerbread deliciousness we’ve come to expect from Google-powered smartphones in 2011. The V430 looks set on launching first in Russia, but no word yet on whether it’ll board the Trans-Siberian across to Europe and beyond. Price is also Russian secret.

Froyo-based ViewSonic V430 smartphone appears in Russia, anonymity almost guaranteed originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 21 Sep 2011 15:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Viewsonic ViewPad 7e hands-on

ViewSonic ViewPad 7e

The ViewSonic ViewPad 7e isn’t exactly what we’d call a barn burner. The 1GHz Samsung chip inside is enough for some basic web browsing and light app duty, but even the ViewSonic reps we spoke to referred to it as an “e-reader on steroids,” positioning it more as a competitor to the Nook Color than the iPad. In our brief hands-on, the little tablet ran Gingerbread capably enough that we weren’t drumming our fingers on the table, but the 7-inch, 800 x 600 screen was not always particularly responsive — it took three swipes to unlock the first time. Despite it’s noticeable bulk (you can see it resting besides a Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the gallery below) it was surprisingly light in the hand. Of course, it saves precious ounces by going with an all plastic build, but it hardly feels cheap or shoddy (though, the buttons are a bit stiff). On the left-hand edge you’ll find a microSD slot for adding to the 4GB of integrated storage, while along the top is the AC plug, a mini USB port and mini HMDI for pumping out 1080p video. As we’ve mentioned before this budget slate is available to pre-order now for $200. Don’t miss the bevy of photos below as well as the PR after the break.

Continue reading Viewsonic ViewPad 7e hands-on

Viewsonic ViewPad 7e hands-on originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Sep 2011 19:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smart-TV Space May Never Take Off as Predicted

Viewsonic has, for now, abandoned plans to integrate Boxee into a smart TV. Photo: Jon Snyder/

Internet-connected TVs, often referred to as smart TVs, were supposed to be the Next Big Thing. But so far, they’re more promise than reality.

A combination of factors, including a lousy economy, lackluster products and consumers more than a little hesitant to buy yet another gadget, have conspired to stall the adoption of smart TVs. The technology is faltering so badly that many electronics firms are reining in plans to offer it.

Viewsonic, for instance, just nixed plans for a Boxee-powered smart TV set and says we won’t see it anytime soon. The company showed off a 46-inch set earlier this year at CES and said we’d have them by the second quarter. But now the company says in a statement:

“’Smart TV’ has not achieved the consumer acceptance or market expectation… that was forecasted over the last couple years. In addition, consumer spending for Smart TV’s in general has experienced a significant slow down as the economy has slowed. Our current strategy is to stay involved with the various technology developments and consider them in the future as they become available.”

Viewsonic’s wake-up call is hardly unusual. Pretty much everyone is discovering consumers aren’t terribly interested in smart TVs.

“What’s happening in the connected TV space is it’s not really about what consumers want, it’s about what manufacturers are making,” Forrester principal analyst James McQuivey says. “Simply having a connected TV doesn’t mean you’ll actually use it.”

Other analysts share a similar sentiment.

“In most cases consumers are buying a television with Internet connectivity as insurance. In other words, they are buying them just in case they need it in the future,” says Van Baker, a vice-president at the research firm Gartner. “Less than half of Internet connected televisions actually get connected to the Internet so clearly consumers don’t yet see this capability as a must have feature.”

Smart TVs, as well as various smart TV set-top boxes like Boxee, Roku and Google TV, once had rosy outlooks.

“Over the next few years, connected TV will become a mainstream consumer technology. Its widespread adoption will not only be disruptive to the entertainment industry; it will also heavily impact the global advertising and marketing industries,” read a May press release outlining projected global shipments of connected TVs. By 2015, 43 million homes in the US are expected to have at least one connected TV.

But so far, evidence of a disruption is hard to come by. Logitech, for example, recently drop the price of its Google TV set top box, the Revue, from $299 to $99 to better reflect consumers’ perceived value of the product after customers returned them in droves.

Apple may be a notable exception to the trend, as there are persistent rumors that some sort of Apple TV set is in the works.

Many blame the lackluster economy for the slow adoption rate of connected TV sets. McQuivey blames the devices. He’s still bullish on the technology, but says the current crop of smart TVs are actually pretty stupid, lacking enough power to make them a truly relevant, transformative technology. Many people buy smart TVs, take them home, and then never utilize the connected features of the set.

The people buying these TVs tend to buy them because they are the best TVs on the market — not because they are connected. The people who actually use Internet connectivity capability do so for only a handful of tasks, like accessing Netflix, watching YouTube videos and maybe checking out photos on services like Facebook or Picasa.

“Nobody has designed these devices to be inviting, to work quickly,” McQuivey says, noting that Google is at least trying to fix that in the software space. The situation is entirely different from another product that debuted around the same time as the smart TV: the iPad. “We’ve found there are at least ten activities that 50 percent or more people do on their iPad, which is very unusual. The iPad beckons you to try these things.” And Internet connected TVs? Well, it’s a TV, so you mostly just sit there and… watch the TV.

And what about that Apple television rumor?

“I am 100 percent convinced that Apple rumor is true,” McQuivey says. “I’m also convinced Apple may never bring this product to market. If we don’t see one, it’s not because the rumor wasn’t true, it’s because Apple is convinced it’s too broken a market to enter.”

Apple would need to add something new in order for their smart TV to possibly succeed, and its options are to provide additional content (like when Netflix was added to Apple TV’s streaming abilities), or add apps. If they can convince major developers to create apps for the experience, McQuivey says, it may succeed.

It looks like Viewsonic may revisit the space when production become more affordable, citing ” future cost reduction of processing solutions” and “advancements as to the performance of streaming and decoding of digital media and cost” as technological developments they were working on in the meantime.

But there’s no point in pursuing smart TV development further if nobody’s adopting it.

“This will end up being one of the most successful flops in the history of consumer tech adoption,” McQuivey says.

Viewsonic abandons plans for Boxee-powered TV

You may have suspected that something was up after Viewsonic failed to meet its promised “early Q2” ship date for the Boxee-powered TV it showed off at CES, and you would have suspected correctly. GigaOM is now reporting that Viewsonic has indeed ditched its plans for the device, apparently due to a combination of high costs and a lack of interest in Smart TVs from customers. It is still keeping its options open for further down the road, however, noting that it will “stay involved with the various technology developments and consider them in the future as they become available.”

Viewsonic abandons plans for Boxee-powered TV originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 08 Sep 2011 14:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Viewsonic’s $200 ViewPad 7e Android tablet now available for pre-order

Viewsonic has been at the low-cost Android tablet for some time now, and it showed no signs of letting up on that effort at IFA last week, where it debuted its new ViewPad 7e. If that managed to pique your interest, you’ll be glad to know that the device is now available for pre-order for $199.99 (though there’s still no promised ship date). That will buy you a 7-inch screen, a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, Android 2.3 for an OS, 4GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot for further expansion, and even a mini HDMI port that will let you output full 1080p video.

[Thanks, Peter]

Viewsonic’s $200 ViewPad 7e Android tablet now available for pre-order originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 08 Sep 2011 13:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft adds Acer, ViewSonic to patent licensing list

You can go ahead and add Acer and ViewSonic to Microsoft’s long list of patent licensees. This morning, Redmond announced a pair of new licensing agreements with the two companies, just a few months after striking similar deals with Itronix and Velocity Micro. Details, however, are few and far between, with Microsoft saying only that it will receive royalties from ViewSonic and that the patents in question pertain to both companies’ Android tablets and smartphones. Of course they do. Both press releases await you, after the break.

Continue reading Microsoft adds Acer, ViewSonic to patent licensing list

Microsoft adds Acer, ViewSonic to patent licensing list originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 08 Sep 2011 09:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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