If you have been following the pocketable tablet scene, you know what an impact the Kindle Fire made with its great hardware at a really low price. Personally, I though Amazon did a great job with the Fire, but it appears ViewSonic thinks they can do better. Today at CES, the company announced the ViewPad E70, which will have both Ice Cream Sandwich and a $170 price point.
Understandably, specifications have suffered slightly as a result of this price cut. The tablet will ship with a single-core 1GHz processor, front facing camera, WiFi b/g/n, 4GB of storage, and 1080p HDMI output. The most concerning element is the 7-inch display, which has a disappointing 800x 480 resolution. Quality could also be an issue, but I would hope a monitor company would be able to get a good panel for its own tablet.
Also, I find it a little odd that the bezel of the device still includes capacitive hardware buttons. As Ice Cream Sandwich comes with onscreen buttons, they would seem unnecessary and their inclusion could indicate quite a bit of oversight on ViewSonic's part. On the other hand, it could change before the release or even be a purposeful decision, so I wouldn't worry to much about it.
The device has also not received Google approval, which means it will not have the Market any of the Google apps. It could, of course, make do with the Amazon App Store like the Kindle Fire, but it would have been nice to have the official market.
With only a $30 savings over the Fire, most casual users would probably be better off with Amazon's offering. However, if like me you would like to try Ice Cream Sandwich on a 7-inch display, the ViewPad E70 will certainly suit your purpose without breaking your budget when it launches later this quarter. If you've got just a little more cash, though, the Asus MeMo will serve you much better.[ViewSonic via. PhoneDog]