Jul 11, 2011

Vizio’s 8-inch Tablet Comes with Remote feature

Irvine, California-based consumer electronics maker Vizio has just revealed its entry in the tablet wars. The 8-inch VTAB1008 is an Android 2.3 device that includes a “universal” infrared remote to highlight its multimedia focus.
First announced during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) back in January, Vizio’s tablet was known by the codename “Via”, which was later used as the name of the tablet’s software interface (different from the OS) called VIA Plus.
The VIA Plus itself as much a big news as the tablet. According to Vizio, the interface will be integrated into the company’s future products, from HDTVs to smartphones and Blu-ray players. Similarly, all upcoming electronics will continue to use Android as their native OS.
Going back to the VTAB1008, the 8-inch capacitive touchscreen has a 1024 x 768 resolution and multitouch functionality. Unlike most manufacturers, Vizio hasn’t revealed what processor is underneath, except to say that it has 1GHz clock speed. According to PCMag.com, however, the processor is just a single-core unit.
Combined with 512 of RAM and 4GB of flash memory (with only 2GB user-accessible), the setup runs on Android 2.3.
The frame holds a front-facing camera. And boasts three (that’s right, 3) speakers. This allows the tablet to properly play back stereo sound, regardless if the device is in portrait or landscape mode. Quite a bit of original thinking there.
Feature-wise, it has a built-in GPS receiver, which the company says “doesn’t need Wi-Fi or 4G to operate”. But the main draw of the VTAB1008 is its infrared (IR) port, which allows to be used with the include “universal remote”. According to Vizio, the remote will be able to run “95%” of consumer electronic devices on the US market.
Thanks to this IR function, the tablet itself can be used as a giant remote. Vizio says it will be releasing a slew of HDTV models that run Google TV. In an interview with PCMag, the company says the keyboard, cursor, apps and interface of the new TVs will be controllable from the tablet. Although it’s a bit of stretch to use an 8-inch tablet as a controller, instead of just reaching for the remote at the end of the sofa.
Besides the hyped-up IR function, other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth. The tablet houses a mini-USB port, mini-HDMI, microSD slot, and an audio in/out.
The 8.1 x 6.6 x 0.48-inch VTAB1008 comes in at 1.2 lbs and will come preloaded with Gmail, Google Maps, Google Market, and IM software. It’s now available for pre-order at $380, or $400 bundled with a carrying case and a 16GB microSD card.


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