ViewSonic confirms two ViewPad tablets

ViewSonic has confirmed a number of details about its upcoming ViewPad tablets. Later this quarter, the ViewPad 7 will debut with an estimated street price of $479. The slate will have a 7" screen with an 800x480 display resolution, front- and rear-facing cameras, 512MB of memory, a microSD slot, and Google's Android 2.2 operating system. 802.11g Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity are on the menu, as well, and Engadget says the slate will feature a Snapdragon processor. ViewSonic claims 10 hours of battery life for the device, which is also being billed as "pocket-sized."

In addition to the 7, ViewSonic is also prepping a ViewPad 10 that will arrive in the first quarter of next year at an expected price of $629. This model will take on netbooks more directly with a 10.1" 1024x600 screen, a 1.66GHz Atom CPU, 1GB of memory and 16GB of SSD storage, and a built-in webcam and microphone. The ViewPad 10 is "ideally designed to view Flash-based content," suggesting that it may incorporate a third-party decoder chip with Flash 10.1 support. There's no mention of HD video playback support, though.

Windows 7 Home Premium will be one of two operating systems pre-loaded onto the ViewPad 10, which will also feature Android 1.6. It's not clear why ViewSonic is using a much older version of Android or whether users will be able to upgrade to a more recent version on their own.

I'm eager to get my hands on a slate, but neither of these offerings really excites me. The ViewPad 7's screen resolution is painfully low for web browsing, and I find it hard to believe that the device will comfortably slip into the average pocket. I do like the ViewPad 10's larger screen and dual-boot option, but outfitting it with Android 1.6 seems like a bad idea, especially since the 10" model will hit the market after the Android 2.2-powered 7" one.

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