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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 3, 2011 at 10:58 AM

CES 2011: Vizio unveils phone, tablet and GoogleTV

Upstart TV maker Vizio jumped the CES gun today by announcing new TVs, a Web tablet and a smartphone the company will be showing in Las Vegas this week.

Vizio also disclosed that several of its new sets will include the GoogleTV software, even though Google has asked electronics companies to hold back on releasing new GoogleTV products until the product is refined.

Details are still skimpy about the phone, but the device and the Vizio tablet are both based on Google’s Android operating system. Both include infrared transmitters and software so they’ll work as universal remote controls for TVs and other electronic devices.

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The handheld gadgets extend the “Via” Web application platform that Vizio has added to its higher-end TVs and Blu-ray players, “delivering on the multi-screen, unified ecosystem others have talked about for years and never delivered,” Vizio Chief Technology Officer Matthew McRae said in a release.

Vizio isn’t disclosing prices yet but a spokesman said the phone and tablet will be available this summer.

The phone has specs comparable to the latest smartphones — a 1 gigahertz processor, 4-inch screen, 80211n Wi-Fi, a 5 megapixel camera and a front-facing camera for video chats — but Vizio didn’t announce which wireless phone technology it will use.

Vizio’s tablet has an 8-inch touchscreeen, 1 GHz processor, an HDMI port, HD video output, a MicroSD card slot, three speakers and a front-facing camera for chats.

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Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio also announced new “Theater 3D” TVs ranging in size from 22 to 71 inches diagonally. The line doesn’t require the battery-powered “active shutter” glasses used in last year’s models and its displays are twice as bright, the company said.

Prices of the 21 new TV sets have yet to be determined. A chart accompanying the release lists two “Via Plus” sets — a 47-inch and 55-inch — suggesting that they’ll be the two with GoogleTV software.

Comments | More in | Topics: CES, ces 2011, Digital TV

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