January 3, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Vizio is branching out from its familiar territory of making home entertainment devices, and entering into the competitive mobile market. After tipping its hand in a commercial during the 2011 Rose Bowl Game, Vizio is preparing to release an Android-based tablet and phone that will be displayed at CES.
The upcoming Via Phone and Via Tablet both have 1 GHz processors and will have access to the Android Market. The Via Phone will ship with a 4-inch touchscreen, front-facing camera, and a standard 5 megapixel camera. The Via Tablet will have an 8-inch job, WiFi, three audio speakers, and a front-facing camera. Both phones will run an as-yet-unnamed version of Android, but it will likely be customized.
Vizio plans to make its products communicate with each other. The WSJ says the company’s strategy will be about inter-connectivity and consistency, including an interface on phone and tablet that resembles the look of Vizio’s HD televisions. There will HDMI ports and apps that turn the mobile devices into remotes, so multimedia will be key to the products.
Analysts say that Vizio could disrupt mobile phones and cause “some Excedrin popping” among rival executives. Vizio has managed to introduce quality HD televisions for lower prices than Samsung, and it could do the same with phones. I’m less inclined to see that happening, but Vizio has already surprised the world once.
It will also tie into a VIA Plus system that has the following features:
- VIA Plus to provide seamless entertainment freedom for all across VIZIO’s line of HDTVs, Blu-ray Players, SmartPhones and Tablets
- VIA Plus combines the convenience of entertainment on demand with seamless experience from the big screen to handheld devices
- VIA Plus HDTVs and Blu-ray Players incorporate Google TV and feature premium Bluetooth QWERTY universal remote with touchpad, dual-band 802.11n built-in Wi-Fi and enhanced onscreen navigation including search and web browser
- VIZIO Smartphone and Tablet based on the Android™ Platform to feature built-in IR blaster with universal remote control app, HD playback with HDMI output, and access to thousands of apps in Android Market™