ViewSonic Android tablet entices with $200 price tag

by Kristen Nicole

Android tablet shares are on the rise, accounting for 27 percent of the tablet market in the US, encroaching on the iPad’s 67 percent market share. It certainly helps that Google updated its Android OS, inviting electronics manufacturers to hop on this gravy train. ViewSonic is the latest to take advantage of the tablet craze, launching a budget-friendly 7-inch Android tablet this week. Smartphones are still popular as well, with Samsung releasing a new handset for T-Mobile users.

ViewSonic ViewPad 7e

An update to last year’s ViewPad 7, ViewSonic’s ViewPad 7e is expected to hit shelves any day now, according to the company. At $200, the ViewPad is comparable in price to the Amazon Kindle Fire, though it may not be as exciting for consumers. Nevertheless, lower-priced tablets will help Android further its gain on the iPad, even if that means fewer specs for fewer dollars. The ViewPad 7e features a 7-inch screen with 800x600 resolution, a 1GHz processor and a micro-HDMI port. The tablet also has a 3-megapixel camera and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats, along with 4GB of internal storage, expanded to 32GB with a microSD card. Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the ViewPad 7e has a customized 3D-like user interface.

Samsung Exhibit II 4G

T-Mobile continues to grow its Android smartphone lineup, with the Samsung Exhibit II 4G set to debut this week. It’s only $29.99 after rebate, along with a two-year contract. Still budget-friendly, the handset will sell for $199.99 without a contract. The Exhibit II is the first 4G smartphone to be sold at Walmart stores, with plans for Thursday availability. Check for the Exhibit II at T-Mobile stores on Nov. 2. Supporting HSPA+21 and HSPA+42, the Exhibit II certainly runs on T-Mobile’s 4G network. It features a 3.7-inch WVGA touchscreen and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the Exhibit II also has a 3-megapixel rear facing camera, and a less powerful front-facing camera for video chat via Wi-Fi. With many features and hardware offerings that would’ve wowed a year ago, the Samsung Exhibit II looks outdated compared to newer devices like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But for this price point, it offers pretty much everything you need for an entry-level smartphone. It’s a perk for T-Mobile, which features a range of devices at various price points. The carrier has also announced release dates for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Huawei Springboard tablets, hitting shelves Nov. 2 and Nov. 7 respectively.

HTC Rezound

While Samsung and Motorola seem to be the favored Android handset makers, both unveiling flashy new phones last week alongside the updated Android 4.0, HTC isn’t one to be left out of the party. The manufacturer has been sending out invites to a mysterious press event of its own, and it’s expected that HTC will reveal the Rezound (aka the Vigor) next week. The Rezound is slated to be the first stateside device to come with Beats audio technology, appealing to a media-centric user. It’s also likely to come with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a 4.3-inch 720p display. Few details beyond this have been released, but HTC’s latest could hit stores as early as Nov. 10. The month before Christmas is an opportunistic time for handset makers and carriers alike, and the Rezound is expected to be available at Verizon just in time for the hoidays.