ViewSonic revealed this morning it will release its 7-inch and 10-inch ViewPad tablet devices in Australia in January 2011. However, the company has not yet secured any distribution arrangements with local telcos.
With a recommended retail price of $699 and $799 respectively, the company's two tablets sell at a similar price to devices like the Apple iPad and the Dell Streak, but substantially cheaper than Samsung's flagship Galaxy Tab.
Based on a Qualcomm MS 7227 CPU, the 7-inch ViewPad runs at 600MHz and has 512MB of internal memory. Additionally, it has a 512MB flash drive for storage and a microSD card slot that supports add-on cards up to 32GB.
Unlike many of the smartphones and tablets currently on the market, it will ship with the latest version 2.2 (Froyo) of the Android platform. The device boasts a 7-inch TFT capacitive screen, a key point of difference between higher-priced tablets and cheaper options such as Telstra's T-Touch Tab and Optus' MyTab, which have resistive touchscreens.
The ViewPad's screen runs at a resolution of 800x480, and it supports all the common mobile network frequencies, including Telstra's 850MHz Next G network, as well as the 802.11b/g Wi-Fi standards and Bluetooth. The device has a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera for video calling on the front. At 375g, the device is much lighter than the iPad, but comparable to other 7-inch Android tablets on the market.
The ViewPad 10-inch model is substantially different from the 7-inch model.
The device is based on Intel's Pine Trail-M N455 CPU, which has been noted online to run at 1.83GHz. With 1GB of DDR3 memory, expandable up to 2GB, and with a 16GB SSD drive for storage, the ViewPad 10-inch is more comparable to a traditional laptop in terms of its specifications.
It runs a 10.1-inch WLED capacitive multi-touch screen at a resolution of 1024x600, comes with a microSD card reader and supports the 802.11b, g and n standards, as well as featuring a number of ports for audio out, USB (times two) and mini-VGA. Its camera is rated at 1.3 megapixels.
The ViewPad 10 also has more operating system options than the 7-inch model, offering the ability to run both the Android and Windows 7 platforms. However, its version of Android is outdated compared with the ViewPad 7: 1.6 compared with the latest 2.2 edition.
The ViewPad 10-inch is also substantially heavier than the ViewPad 7-inch, weighing in at 875g. Also, it's purely a Wi-Fi device and cannot connect to mobile phone networks.
Yesterday also saw a major tablet announcement, with Telstra releasing its official pricing for the much-vaunted Samsung Galaxy Tab, almost three weeks after its main competitors.
In a blog post on its Exchange site yesterday, Telstra revealed it would sell the tab on three monthly plans, costing $29, $49 and $79, and with included monthly data allowance of 1GB, 7GB and 12GB respectively. Each plan will come with $10 worth of included allowance for standard voice calls and SMS messages to any Australian phone network.
In addition, customers will need to pay an extra $25 per month to buy the device on the $29 and $49 plans, or $15 a month on the $79 plan, with the total minimum spend ranging from $1296 up to $2256.
Telstra's top-end plan costs more than the high-end plans of either Optus or Vodafone, but its cheapest option is also cheaper than that of Optus (while remaining several hundred dollars more expensive than Vodafone's cheapest plan).
The telco has also kept its promise to launch its self-branded, Android-powered T-Touch Tab on a similar range of monthly plans. The only difference between the Galaxy Tab and T-Touch Tab plans is that customers buying a T-Touch will pay only $6 per month or zero dollars if they are on a $79 plan.