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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vizio Shows Off Classy Design with its Android Phone and Tablet

We kicked off our early CES coverage on Monday with a story about Vizio’s new 3DTV line and VIA Plus ecosystem, which will link new Vizio devices together with media sharing and other forms of interoperability. Two of those VIA Plus devices represent new territory for Vizio: the Vizio Tablet and Vizio phone.

Both devices are on display at CES, and here’s a pleasant surprise: they look downright sexy for products coming from a first-time tablet/phone competitor.

Engadget reports that the Vizio tablet’s glossy black front houses an 8” 1024x768 LCD display. Despite its early software (and unfinished hardware), it’s nice and responsive. Memory is unknown, but the processor clocks in at at least 1GHz and there’s 4GB of internal storage split in half for the OS and owner use. microSD, micro USB and HDMI out are all represented, and the Vizio Tablet uses a unique three speaker system to emulate surround sound in either portrait or landscape orientation.

As we mentioned earlier, the tablet includes an IR blaster to serve as a jumbo-size remote for other electronic devices. Head to the link above to see a hands-on video of the early tablet model at CES. With a targeted summer release and “competitive” pricing, we could be seeing the Vizio Tablet hit retail for under $500 later this year.

The Vizio Phone shares much of its design with the larger tablet: we’re looking at the same glossy front and attractive gray back, the same processor specs, storage, and available ports. The only major difference is the 1.3MP front-facing cam and 5 megapixel rear camera with a flash. And, of course, the screen’s smaller, too. The LCD measures 4” at a resolution of 854x480.

What little we’ve seen of Vizio’s custom Android UI looks lean, sleek and organized--we can definitely see it jumping up to the top of the list to rival HTC Sense. We can already picture a wonderful universal remote app coming with phone to make use of that IR blaster.

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