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ViewSonic Intros 7-Inch ICS Tablet for $170 USD

This week during CES 2012, ViewSonic introduced a new 7-inch tablet that aims to take on Amazon directly with a price point of $169.99 USD, thirty dollars less than the Kindle Fire. The device will also sport Google's latest Android OS, aka "Ice Cream Sandwich," and several options you won't find on Amazon's highly popular tablet.

"ViewSonic is committed to delivering advanced technology designed with the consumer in mind," said Michael Holstein, vice president of business development, ViewSonic. "Featuring the latest Android operating system, along with leading apps and services for entertainment content, the ViewPad E70 continues the ViewSonic tradition of bringing feature-rich products to new markets."

Based on a minimal list of details, the problem ViewSonic's tablet may have when compared against the Kindle Fire -- at least in the hardware aspect -- is the SoC. The 7-inch ViewPad E70 will use a presumed single-core 1 Ghz SoC whereas the Kindle Fire currently sports a zippier dual-core OMAP4 SoC provided by Texas Instruments and clocked at 1 GHz.

The other drawback is the available storage capacity of 4 GB; the Kindle Fire comes packed with 8 GB of storage (although 6 GB is available for actual storage and the other 2 GB is used for the apps). However, ViewSonic's tablet provides a microSD card slot for adding an additional 32 GB of storage -- the Kindle Fire painfully lacks this very important feature.

Also on ViewSonic's side is 1080p microHDMI output (although the tablet's display is 800 x 480), allowing users to display content on an HDTV directly from the tablet. But given that the ViewSonic tablet only uses a single-core SoC and doesn't have the multimedia backing of Amazon, the 7-inch ViewPad E70 might be a tough sell. Then again, the tablet will come with Amazon's Appstore for Android and Kindle for Android, so there's still hope.

"Integrated apps and services provide easy access to leading multimedia, entertainment content, and thousands of mobile apps offered," the company said. "One of the most portable and affordable tablet products on the market, ViewPad E70 is designed to meet consumer demand for a tablet that delivers on both quality features and value."

The ViewPad E70 will be available for an ESP of $169.99 in late 1Q12.