Vizio Enters Android Tablet Market – Will Drive Down Prices

There should be no doubt that 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Android based tablets.  Manufacturers are scurrying to get their tablet plans together and prepare for release in 2011 in an attempt to put up somewhat of a fight against Apple’s iPad juggernaut.  Most manufactures had to go back to the drawing board to completely rework their tablets after the iPad was released.

One company that has taken a more thought-out approach is Vizio.  Vizio has made a name for themselves selling low-cost quality big-screen TVs and is now getting ready to branch out into the mobile device space.  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company will announce a new tablet computer and smart phone to compete with Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

The devices will run the latest flavor of Google’s Android OS and are expected to be released later this summer here in the US. Vizio’s tabelt will be called the Via Tablet and the phone will go by the name Via Phone.  The Via Tablet will have an 8″ screen while the Via Phone will feature a 4″ display.  Both devices are said to have front facing cameras for video conferencing and the Via Phone will also sport a five megapixel rear camera for photos and vide recording.

The entry of Vizio into the tablet and smartphone space should send shivers down the spines of other tech executives.  Vizio is known for doing one thing extremely well, mercilessly driving down prices with their low-cost business model.  The company has already had a major impact on the LCD and Plasma TV business and they will be looking to replicate this in the mobile device market.  Matthew McRae, Vizio’s Chief Technology Officer refused to disclose pricing to the Wall Street Journal but did indicate that low pricing will be a clear part of their strategy.

Apple shocked the market when they introduced the iPad last year for only $499. Most analysts and other manufacturers were expecting the iPad to come in somewhere between $799 and $999. There are already signs that competing tablet makers are being forced to reduce prices to better compete against Apple’s iPad. Samsung recently knocked $100 off their Galaxy Tab in an attempt to increase sales and other vendors are sure to revisit prices before they launch later this year.

The Android market looks to become very crowded in 2011 and with competitors searching for ways to differentiate their products, pricing is sure to be key.  It will be interesting to see how HTC, Motorola, Samsung and other Android tablet vendors respond to low-cost Android alternatives from Vizio and others.  RIM and Apple should fare better as they each run their own unique OS providing a key market differentiator in a soon to be crowded space.

About Bill: Contact me via Twitter: @PadGadgetBill

  • bart

    Why these manufacturers keep degrading themselves by desperately trying to imitate Apple’s iPad is beyond me. Nobody in their right mind would settle for these products if they know what an iPad is.

    • Jack DeLook

      iPad doesnt have camera, cannot multitask, cannot install 3rd party apps, tied to Apple with no freedom, others have all these and 3g, WiFi, two cameras, more RAM,cheaper in cost. not quality, — why are you touting IPAD so much?” Do you work for Apple?

  • Mike Dilligas

    Professor Christensen at Harvard is predicting bad news for apple because they strictly adhere to their own operating systems rather than open to others.
    Vizeo is on the right track with pricing that will be disruptive to the market and allow casual users to receive the benefit of a quality product. This is not an imitation of Apple, it will offer a choice.

    • dhampton

      I would agree. I have several apple devices, and 6 vizio and 1 LG and 1 sony. All of the same year but varing in size. The sony has been perfect, the LG is garbage, and only one Vizio needed service due to a drop after purchase. All of these are 3 + years old. Vizio is still perfect image. LG is fading, sony is perfect. All 1080P LCD.

      Any one who is a student of hisory would know how much damage was done to apple for their proprietary nature. When microsoft gave windows to many manufacturers, they set the tone, while apple struggled to stay in business. Apple users will soon discover, as I have, that proprietary software is only a pro when you are talking security. Apple, you will alway have die hard customer base, but learn from history this time and open up.

      Another thing, all you lovers and haters out there, including myself, facts and opinions will always remain different. Good luck and remember, everything is junk and typically overpriced, just to what degree.

  • Mike Dilligas

    Vizio will continue to disrupt the marketplace with quality products for the masses. Lower price brings the innovation to more people. Remember your first PC at $10,000? How about that LCD TV for $2000.0

  • Cory Bauer

    Vizio has not and never will make “quality” products.

  • mtcoz

    I’m in Australia and I’ve never, ever heard of Vizio!!!! The term “you get what you pay for” is so true particularly when talking electronics and computing.

    The iPad is not the first tablet device, but Apple have made the more traditional laptop based tablet,the ebook reader functions seem incredibly limited when they launched their iPad tablet. It’s much simpler to use use than a pressure sensitive (type with a stylis) tablet and has numerous more functions than a B&W eReader.

    The other thing with the iPad is there are no contracts to get locked into as there is with an iphone and the bigger screen is much closer to HD than what the then available iPhone 3GS was 12 months back.

    • Mojo

      I have 2 large screen Vizio HD TVs that are fabulous. I’d put their quality against any other. In Sears, the were as clear as Samsung for 500.00 less! Perhaps the problem is that they are assembled in USA.

      • Jaime

        Why is it a problem being assembled in the US?

        • Jack DeLook

          Because the labour costs are the highest in the world. The same device assembled in Malaysia or China costs 25% less.

  • colorfunch

    I have never had a VISIO product but have been hearing good things about the price and quality from people that have had it for a while. I will definitely try it out.

  • blue5ft3

    VIZIO will not be DRIVING any PRICES DOWN starting out at $350! The original iPad is better than most of these and is down to $299 I kept my original iPad, it’s great, and iPad 2 after having to return 4 Androids, one over $500 that caught on FIRE (Sammy!) This was my first ever Apple purchase too.