As mobile enthusiasts we tend to focus on the latest and greatest devices, but these types of devices also come at a high price and they really are not necessary for everyone. High end Android tablets from HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and others are expensive and often come with required carrier data contracts. There are a few WiFi-only models, but it wasn't until the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet came out at $199 and $249 that people realized they didn't have to pay $500+ for an Android tablet. A competitive tablet I saw at CES 2012 that will soon joining this low cost group is the ViewSonic ViewPad E70. In May you will be able to purchase this 7 inch Android tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich for just $170.
While the Amazon Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are primarily focused on the ebook market, they can also be used as Android tablets with a bit of easy manipulation. The upcoming ViewPad E70 is not at all focused on the ebook market, but does come with the Amazon Kindle app preloaded out of the box. Many people just use tablets for web browsing, email, and media consumption and the low cost ViewPad E70 meets these needs. The specifications include:
Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 operating system
1 GHz processor
4GB integrated memory and microSD for expandable storage
800 x 480 pixels resolution 7" display
Front facing camera (something not found in the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet)
Price of just $169 with end of May availability
As you can see in the list above, it comes with a front facing camera so you can use it for video calling. You will also find the Amazon AppStore loaded out of the box.
If you want an Android tablet larger than the 7 inch ViewPad E70, then the upcoming ViewPad 10e is a nice device at just $270. The ViewPad 10e is scheduled to ship at the end of January and while it launches with Android 2.3 Gingerbread it will be upgraded to ICS in the future.
Specifications include the following:
9.7 inch 1024x768 TFT LCD display
1 GHz processor
512 MB RAM and 4GB internal flash storage
1.3 megapixel front facing camera
2700 mAh battery
The ViewPad 10e felt good in my hand and with a cost less than $300 it is a device I would think of for an Android tablet where you didn't have a need for high end gaming and other advanced function.
I also took a look at the ViewPhone 3 in the ViewSonic booth. This is an Android smartphone that will launch in Latin America with the unique feature being the dual SIM card support. This is something that is more important outside the U.S. and I don't see this phone appealing to many here since we get better subsidized phones for free. Other specs include a 3.5 inch low resolution display, 5 megapixel camera, ViewScene user interface, and Android 2.3 operating system.