Vizio was one of those little companies that suddenly turned the TV market upside down. Now it looks like it has set it sights on the smartphone and tablet market.
At CES 2011 Vizio is demoing some engineering samples of what will later be known as its Via Tablet and Via Phone. Both devices are set to be available in the summer and will run some version of Android. As of this writing, the company has not released a firm date nor a price, but it did manage to give some hands-on time to a couple of publications, who I have linked to below.
As for the specs, the Via Tablet is set to be an 8-inch, high-resolution screen beauty with three speakers (two on the bottom and one on the side), an IR blaster for using the Tablet as a remote, Wi-Fi, a front-facing camera for video conferencing, and an HDMI port. The Via Phone is expected to sport a 4-inch screen, a front-facing camera for video calls, and a rear-facing five megapixel camera.
I'm excited to see what Vizio can come up with. Their offerings are sure to be priced competitively, if their other products are any indication. The best part about what Vizio can do here is that the company has already cornered the market on inexpensive flat panels. With Android being freely available, and a reduced cost on the panel, you can bet that the tablet and phone will be priced well under the competition. I also like that Vizio is thinking about ways to tie the tablet to its existing multimedia line.
Vizio also already offers its own Apps on its internet-connected TVs, so you can bet there will be a flavor of that available for the Tablet and Phone, too. The Via Tablet and Via Phone could be the best example of tying a phone, tablet and TV together.