Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 will start by being all tablets, all the time: VIZIO the latest to say they will unveil a tablet (and a phone) at CES

As if serving as a prelude to the what the rest of the week will deliver, VIZIO announced today that it is getting into the smartphone and tablet business (because there are a dearth of cell phone makers, right?), launching the VIA Phone and the VIA Tablet. Both products are designed to fit into a unified "ecosystem" with the company's HDTV and Blu-ray products.
Both the VIA phone and tablet feature the highest performance coupled with innovative features that tie them into the media consumption experience," Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer, said in the company's release.

"And by integrating the VIA Plus user experience also found on our next generation TVs and Blu-ray devices, VIZIO is delivering the multi-screen, unified ecosystem others have talked about for years and never delivered."

The announcement by VIZIO will be just the start of product announcements this week as manufacturers try and get early word out on their new tablets and mobile products that will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show later this week in Las Vegas. It's gonna get crazy folks.

VIZIO no doubt believes that by pairing its tablet and mobile products with their television offerings they will have a leg up on others in the field. Both new offerings will run on Google's Android platform, meaning media companies already developing for the platform will be able to get their media apps onto the new devices.

The Android tablet market look like it will quickly start looking like the Windows laptop market as the field becomes very crowded, very fast, and price begins to be a major differentiator. VIZIO, it appears, hopes its new tablet will appeal to video fans as it sports an HDMI port, and eight inch screen (still almost two inches smaller than the iPad's 9.7 inch display, but larger than the display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab). Users, though, will have to depend on the devices WiFi for connecting to the Internet as it will not come with 3G connectivity.

"As part of the VIA Plus ecosystem, the VIA phone and tablet are natural extensions of the HD entertainment experience that historically has centered around the TV," added Mr. McRae.