ViewSonic ViewPad 4 doesn't know if it's a tablet or a phone

The ViewSonic ViewPad 4 has full phone functionality, runs Android Gingerbread and has a 4.1-inch touchscreen, but we're told this little device is actually a tablet. Confused?

There have been so many phones and tablets announced at Mobile World Congress this year it was only inevitable that some of them would be overwhelmed by the experience and become terribly confused. The Viewsonic ViewPad 4 doesn't seem to know if it's a phone with tablet features or a tablet with phone features. Poor thing.

If the ViewPad 4 asked us (and it really should have), we would say it's a phone. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread (rather than the tablet-specific 3.0 Honeycomb) on a Qualcomm 1GHz processor, has full mobile phone functionality and crucially, has only a 4.1-inch capacitive touchscreen. Sounds like a phone to us.

ViewSonic, though, says it's a tablet. It's fitted this baffled little chap with a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p video, video calling via a front-facing camera, Bluetooth, wireless and GPS functionality, not unlike the iPhone 4 , which is very much not a tablet. The iPhone 4 however, doesn't have a mini-HDMI output as the ViewPad 4 does which allows it to output 720p video to an HDTV. That's a little more tabletty.

ViewSonic has seen fit to equip this, let's just say 'device', with something called ViewScene, which uses GPS to alter your home screen layout according to your location. If you're at home, for example, it will display your social media apps first. Go to work and you'll be seeing office apps. In theory this could be a nice idea, but we can't imagine too many people being fond of an interface that moves around all day.

There's no word on pricing yet, but expect to see this tablet/phone mongrel sometime around April. What do you think of this confused device? Is it a phone or is it a tablet? Should we let it be what it wants to be? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Andrew is a senior editor at CNET and has always been fascinated by tech. When not getting up close and personal with the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.


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