When we arrived at the ViewSonic booth, we expected to find only two new tablets of interest. As trade shows often go, the company surprised us with a pre-production model known as the ViewPad E70. With a 7-inch WVGA touchscreen, this tablet will ship out of the gate with Ice Cream Sandwich and will be available for a mere $169 by the end of March. While there's still much work to be done -- especially with the software interface -- this little guy could be an excellent value for many who want a tablet that's small and inexpensive. We're told the ViewPad E70 features a 1GHz CPU and 4GB of internal storage, along with WiFi, a microSD slot, a micro-HDMI port and a front-facing camera of unknown specification. Apparently, some models will feature 3G connectivity, although ViewSonic representatives were unable to provide further details regarding availability or network support.
Many features, including the camera and WiFi, have yet to be implemented, and hardware changes are certain before the device's official launch. For instance, the capacitive buttons along the bezel are going away, as this functionality is now built-in to the Android 4.0 interface. Further, the camera we spotted on the rear won't exist come final version. Still, if the shipping model is anything like the prototype -- which is only 10.9mm thick -- we think many will be quite satisfied with the product's look and feel. Like the company's other tablets, the ViewPad E70 won't include the Android Market and instead will ship with the Amazon Appstore -- unfortunate, but it is what it is.