Held at Gallery Hotel, ViewSonic's launch of its two new ViewPad tablets was a pretty smooth event. The ViewPad 7 is a 7-inch model, sports Android 2.2 OS and like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, has Google Mobile Service certification, which means it comes with Android Market for apps. ViewSonic also stated that they will be partnering M1 to sell the ViewPad 7, so expect to get it at a cheaper price if you're willing to sign a mobile broadband data plan with the telco.
The ViewPad 10 however, was strangely familiar, and then it hit us. It's exactly like the RedFox WizPad! When we spoke with ViewSonic's Product Manager, Mr Kai Wang, he confirmed our suspicions on the OEM nature of the tablet. indeed, the specs are similar, and the ViewPad 10 will come equipped with an Intel Atom N455 processor, 16GB storage, built-in 3G and will have have dual-boot capabilities for Android 1.6 and Windows 7 Home Premium. The Android OS will be more for users who require a device with instant on capabilities, while Windows 7 will be for the users who need a fuller computing experience. He also told us that Android updates for the ViewPad 10 will not be forthcoming, as there may be problems in getting Android to run properly with the Intel Atom that the ViewPad 10 uses.
That aside, the tablets are a fundamental shift from ViewSonic's usual business, which is in monitors and projectors. Based on our conversation with Mr Wang, it would seem that while ViewSonic's usual products are more for the 'visual senses', they seem to regard tablets as more of a lifestyle product. In fact, Mr Wang referred to reports by Forrester Research that indicated tablet sales in the US would overtake netbooks by 2012. Personally, our own prediction is that tablets would become more popular than netbooks, so it does make sense that ViewSonic wants to get into the market early and not be left behind.
Lastly, you may be wondering how much the units will set you back by, and the answer may surprise you. The 7-inch ViewPad 7 will go for S$829 (M1 has no word on the contract pricing or even when it will be launched) and the ViewPad 10 will go for S$929. Sounds a tad expensive, but not too shabby a pricing we say, so expect to see the units in retail stores before Christmas.