It's pretty obvious that the tablet industry is about to face explosive growth in the coming months. There are only two or three high-end tablets out right now, but we're about to enter CES and all of this year's latest gadgets and gizmos will be announced. I'm sure there will be an impressive amount of upcoming Android tablets getting in on the fun, too. Companies like Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG were expected to join the Android tablet bandwagon, but I never would have imagined Vizio would, too. The LCD HDTV experts have decided to go mobile and try their hand at making an Android-powered tablet and phone. But will the devices carry enough weight to sell amongst mobile veterans' products?
We've seen several companies try their hand at mobile and we've also watched many fail. Take Dell, Acer, and Garmin thus far, they have all had seemingly decent devices that end up being too little too late. Vizio has a respectable name when it comes to televisions and they will want to maintain that reputation across the board. However, with tablets like the XOOM and a second generation iPad, the odds will be against them.
Vizio has come from way out in left field with a tablet and phone announcement, but they can't dilly dally now. Time is the most important factor to a company trying to break into the mobile world. Release the product too soon with bugs and glitches and they're doomed, but if they release the product too late, the giants in the mobile realm will eat them up with superior devices and more advanced specifications. Hopefully this pre-CES announcement means we'll see the devices before March. Otherwise, it may be too late.
If Vizio aims to move the Via Tablet off the shelves, they're going to have to have something else to offer beyond their movie service and syncing it up with other Via products. Unfortunately, the device's specs don't appear to be enough to do it alone. The official announcement from this morning revealed some underwhelming specs that seem so...2010. A 1 GHz processor may be the Achilles heel of the Vizio-branded device as many 2011 tablets will be sporting Tegra 2 processors rated at 1.2 GHz and beyond. We know it has a front-facing camera for video chatting, but there was no talk of any camera on the back. There was also no info on what version of Android the Via Tablet will be using, but I hope Vizio knows that if it ships with anything but Honeycomb that they'll be shooting themselves in the foot.
The same goes for the phone. It will carry the same 1 GHz processor as its larger tablet brother, a rear 5 MP camera and a front-facing camera, and a 4-inch high resolution display. For a brand new company trying to break into the mobile world, the Via Phone may do alright, but having yawn-inducing specifications will land it at the very bottom of people's wish lists, if on it at all.
I will admit that using your tablet or phone to control your TV and Blu-ray player would be pretty cool, but without any other Vizio products to beef it up, you'll have just another mediocre Android tablet. Being a mobile newcomer, sitting near the back of the line isn't going to help them any. I'm all for new competition and I would like to see yet another company fare well in the mobile industry, but if you don't hit the ground running, you can't expect to great results. It seems as if Vizio hit the ground in a mere jog, so they can probably expect below-par to mediocre sales. Unless, of course, they bundle one of their TVs with their tablet. Now that might turn some heads.