CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

Summary: Vizio is reportedly prepping tablets and mobile phones to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show and if it adapts its TV playbook it could be quite disruptive.


Vizio is reportedly prepping tablets and mobile phones to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show and if it adapts its TV playbook it could be quite disruptive.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vizio will unveil tablets and mobile phones. Vizio is best known for making inexpensive LCD TVs. Update: Vizio released a statement on its tablet plans.

The game plan for Vizio in the tablet and phone market mirrors its TV business. Crack a market, make affordable products and make the incumbents sweat.

Vizio is reportedly planning a 4-inch phone called the Via Phone. A Via Tablet will have an 8-inch screen. Both devices will run Google's Android.

I'm highly skeptical about the chances for Vizio to be a major phone player. However, Vizio could be dangerous on the tablet front. After all, a tablet is really just a smaller screen. Vizio also has the distribution for tablets through its retail relationships. A Vizio phone has to be distributed by wireless carriers that don't have an existing relationship with the company.

The set-up here is that Vizio could spark a race to the bottom on tablet pricing. Samsung would sweat Vizio's entrance. Consumers are likely to cheer---especially if Vizio can deliver a decent tablet at $199 or so.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • Great to have more innovation and competition for phones and tables. Maybe,

    we will finally get a tablet priced to be competitive. However, I want minimum 10 inches, preferably 11.5 inches. Steve jobs is right, the minimum size for a tablet is about 10 inches.
  • Notice that Visio is not stupid enough to use Windows Phone 7 on phones, OR

    Windows 7 on tablets. They understand that Windows 7 on tablets would force them to use Atom and more memory, making the tablets heaver, more expensive, hotter, shorter battery life. And, the only ones that want Window Phone 7 on a phone are Windows dildos.
    • Hi


      I had to sign up just to say that I have been reading the talkbacks for some time now, and that your replies are the most idiotic out of everyone that posts here.

      You obviously have no clue how computer hardware works, nor do you have a background in IT or computer education, and to be honest, you sound like you're 12.

      Do everyone a favour and quit posting please. I think I speak for the rest of ZDNet when I say, we're all tired of your spam.
      • Well, thanks for the compliments, but, how smart are you? In your post, I

        did not detect one rational argument, only insults. Try to argue your points. How is Windows 7 viable for tablets, and how will it be able to compete with iPad and Android tablets coming next year? How will Microsoft break into the smart phone market with the dorky tile interface from a failed music player?
      • You're one to talk about insults

        What exactly did you just do then? "Winodws dildos" sounds like insults to me too. You sound like you're in no position to judge technology one way or another. Don't even get me started on your 'printing' and 'ChromeOS' rants either.

        I own a Windows tablet, an iPad, and a WP after I traded in my Droid. I can tell you the only one there with potential for a knockout tablet is WP7. Microsoft has the perfect UI for it.
        And I'll let you know that my Windows tablet never gets "hot", isn't heavy at all, only has 1 GB of RAM, and only cost me $480 on Newegg.
      • hi, too

        your post wasn't much of a contribution either. and no, you don't speak for the rest of ZDNet.
        banned from zdnet
      • Come on guys, make some arguments. My argument is that beyond Windows

        fanatics, there is not much adoption of Windows Phone 7, and it is a dorky interface. It IS a fact that it is based on a failed music player OS. On the tablets, I made some very good arguments against Windows 7 on tablets. Try to make some arguments against what I said.<br><br>I think the term "Windows dildos" is particularly fitting giving the posts we have seen here!!!! But, in any case, you seem to think that derogatory names for Linux people is OK, but Windows fanatics are some how sacred and can not be criticized.

        Come on, prove you are not dildos, MAKE A FREAKING ARGUMENT.
      • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?


        Ok, first off, your use of questionable language already pegs you either as an adolescent, or someone with very poor social skills. Possibly both. Just believe me when I say that people make snap judgements about you when you stay assinine things like that. I just did, and I am sure other people have as well. But I suspect you already know how much making inappropriate comments like that can get you in trouble at work, huh? I bet you have had to sit through a few chats already...

        Anywho, I am a longtime Blackberry user, converted from WinMo, now using an iPhone 4 for the last 6 months. We spend a lot of time with mobile devices in our lab, and I can tell you that Microsoft's marketing pitch on their phone is spot on. It really is dead simple to use, screen typing is MUCH better than iPhone and the data is much easier to get to IMHO. It's a prettier interface from a design perspective. My expectations were very low, and I was pleasantly surprised. If it fails, it will be because Microsoft was too far behind to make a play, not because the product was bad.
    • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

      @DonnieBoy Thank you! I'm sick of Microsoft sticking its chubby greasy fingers into everything thinking "Oh, we're going to innovate this..."

      How about innovating a REAL mobile OS instead of a Zune OS failure and an overbloated point and click OS on a tablet???
  • The biggest point here is that Visio chose to use Android over Microsoft

    operating systems. There are a lot of VERY good reasons for this.

    On tablets, there is little need for Win32/64 applications, and using Windows would make tablets more expensive, heavier, hotter, less battery life. A non starter except for a few Windows nerds that insist in running Win32 applications. Finally, Windows 7 licensing fees would add to an already more expensive tablet. A double whammy.

    On a phone, Android is the most popular and the Windows Phone 7 tile interface is really dorky. Android is much more mature, and there are a ton more applications available. Finally, you have to pay licensing fees for Windows Phone 7, and they leave you about zero room to innovate.
    • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

      @DonnieBoy Thank you for a much less inflammatory post. I do agree that a Win 7 tablet would probably be more expensive, but that may not be as much of an issue if it becomes more capable in the process. I disagree that standard Windows applications are superfluous on a tablet. There are many markets where the tablet form factor is a significant plus (education, which is my field, medicine, data collection, etc.), and where running standard Windows applications, at least in stripped down mode, would be needed. Personally, I like the old computer tablet form factor for presentations in class because I can annotate my presentations as I go, but I hate the weight of the system because I can't easily carry it around with me as I pace. Wireless medical or regulated lab notebook applications would be another area where the slate form factor would be a decided advantage, but where Android is not currently a supported operating system. That could change, but it would be less difficult to integrate a system that IT understands in both of those areas. I see plenty of market for Win 7 as a tablet interface, although I agree that mass market success is less likely than one might hope if you own MS stock.

      I disagree on the issue of the Windows Phone 7 interface. I do not find it dorky at all, in fact I find it fast and intuitive. I think most of the reviews that I have read seem to agree with me. I think you are underestimating the potential success of their phone effort. It mirrors Android's acceptance curve, and hasn't penetrated the US cell market at this point, although that may change as of this week. And I would not call Zune a failure, either. Just because it didn't de-throne the iPod doesn't make it a failure. In fact, it did pretty well against some very stiff competition. It wasn't a blockbuster success, but it wasn't a failure. I think they correctly moved to the phone platform as it has become painfully clear that the two platforms are converging all over the place. I think manufacturers like Sandisk that are more memory-oriented companies are the ones that will fall away as the devices converge more fully. That leaves Apple, MS, and Samsung in strong positions for growth as they all have phone and player platforms in place. I may be overly optimistic here, but I think that there is room for all three in the marketplace, and I suspect all will have their success. I am not at all sure where Apple's market leadership will be, nor am I certain that the level of acceptance of WP7 will meet MS's expectations. But I do think they will have more than a fanboy-only following.
  • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

    I don't see the need for another Android phone. Typically I would welcome all competition, especailly when it would drive the price down. Unfortunately, the last thing Android needs is another interface slaped on to it. The space is fragmented and the user experience suffers. What is needed is a simple clean UI which is standardized. It does not matter what iOS device you pick up the UI is the same. All of the carriers and manufactures have butchered the android UI so that you can't recognize it from one device to the next. Keep in mind this is a phone, and it just needs to work. I will dump my droid X as soon as verzion gets the iphone.
    • I completely disagree. People LIKE a variety of hardware and interfaces,

      with applications still being compatible.

      Really, the only problem is that the different versions of the OS that are not 100% compatible and require a little tweaking from the software vendor to support, but, the consumer buying a new phone does not see that. In any case, all vendors will have the problem of supporting different versions of OSes and different hardware capabilities. Even with iPhone it is not all roses.
      • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

        @DonnieBoy All you have to do is look at the HTC Sense vs. Moto Blur discussion to prove you wrong. The UI is so different between these two devices. Andriod needs to standardize on a single clean UI avaialble to all HW. iOS is iOS, you are right it is not all roses, believe me there are thorns. That being said I have never handed someone an iPhone and have them ask me how do I use this thing. Happens all the time with my droid x. The UI is just plain bad. In hindsight I think I would be happier with the HTC sense, which is better but still not a clean as iOS.
  • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

    I think that this article messed up a little, Vizio makes QUALITY LCDs and LEDs at an affordable price. Honestly, our Vizio TV is one of the best that I have ever purchased, it is easy to use and very affordable. If Vizio follows suit with phones, they may not need to go through the carriers, I could see them making phones that are affordable enough that they can be purchased direct without a contract, (a good smart phone under $100 with no contract would be amazing, but very doable for Vizio). They could then sell in regular stores and direct on their website and ultimately could change the entire mobile industry.
    • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

      @breeneng I doubt you could even source the parts for $100. If they could get the non contract price down to $250, and put a vanilia OS on the device then things start to get interesting. This would for all intents be a standard UI, and come a long way to fixing the android problem.
  • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

    People see Windows and Android as being at odds with one another. First lets remember that Android is a shell on LINUX the only limitation for tablets should be on hardware implementation.

    I agree with Donnieboy that Vizio should develop a 10" tablet. I have worked with both tablets and found the 10" can provide a better experience. I would also like to see Vizio develop a model that uses a cradle to do the charging and not the constant plugging and unplugging of today's models. A cradle charger makes it easier to just pick up the tablet and walk around with it when you want to. Sitting in a cradle it would make a great display for watching movies on my home wireless network. I could also use it for video calls one day (by say Skype).

    The future of the tablet is perhaps one of the brightest avalable in IT and home for some time. Kudos to the company that builds one that can be stored practically to become part of the house and not one laying around the house.
  • RE: CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player?

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