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Monday, January 3, 2011

Vizio announces phone, tablet, Google TV

Earlier today, Vizio, more known for their televisions, announced that they will be showcasing an Android phone and tablet this week at CES. They will also be unveiling a new line of Google TV powered televisions. The TVs, tablet and phone will all be part of what they're calling the Vizio VIA Plus Ecosystem.
They've given a few official specs, and more will be announced this week at CES. The phone is a 4" slate device with a 1GHz processor, 5MP camera, and a front facing camera. The tablet has an 8" screen, GPS, HDMI out, front facing camera, and three speaker surround sound.

They will also be releasing a series of Google TV powered TVs and Blu-ray players, with the phone and tablet serving as setup-free remote controls.

It definitely looks like the tablet and phone are running some type of custom Android skin, but details on that, as well as what version of Android they're running, are unnknown for now. Price details were also not released, but it is assumed that they will be inexpensive. [via AndroidCentral]

It's always great to see more phone and tablet options, and it's good to see manufacturers branching out into new product segments. But I honestly can't get too excited about this. It's all too familiar of a scenerio: new manufacturer creates a device...device sells...manufacturer loses interest, and stops updating or providing support. It's happened before, and especially since this appears to be running a custom skin, I can totally see it happening this time. I'd love it if Vizio proved me wrong and provided awesome support. And if nothing else, this will likely provide a higher quality "cheap" tablet for those who can't afford the more expensive options.

In addition, it's awesome to see more partners for Google TV. With all the problems the platform has faced so far, new high profile partners like Vizio can only be a good thing.

I think it's kind of odd that Vizio is making a phone and tablet, but not necessarily in a bad way. And the "ecosystem" idea could be either a huge hit, or just a failed marketing attempt. I'm not sure how many people they'll convince to buy bundles. Although, to be honest, if I could control my TV (easily) from my phone, I would. I'm always losing that damn remote. This would be especially useful if the phone/tablet controlled the entire TV, not just the Google TV portion. Since both devices are made by Vizio, I'm assuming that's how it will work, which would be pretty sweet.

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