ViewSonic ViewPad 10pi dual-boot tablet hands-on (video)

The ViewSonic ViewPad 10pi was announced here at CES, and according to the company, it'll be in retail stores later this month. This is a scary proposition. Sadly, our time with the tablet was filled with glitches and frustration -- as is, this dual-booter seems entirely unfit for the market. The Android 2.3 environment is nearly unusable and often freezes completely. While this could certainly be resolved with a software update, the hardware implementation is regrettably poor for Android use. Rather than capacitive navigation buttons, necessities such as home, menu and back are located along the edge of the tablet as small, physical buttons. Half the time, they didn't even work. Our fleeting moments with a usable Android environment were generally pleasant, but the system generally locked up after a few minutes. As another black eye, Android Market is nowhere to be seen, which means the Amazon Appstore will have to suffice. We're told that customers will need enable Android themselves, because out-of-the-box, the tablet will only run Windows 7. It's painfully apparent why this decision was made.

With a 1.5GHz Intel Oak Trail Z670, we had decent expectations for performance within Windows. Unfortunately, even web browsing was generally unsatisfying. Pinch-to-zoom and scrolling were both rather choppy, and -- as much as this comment pains us -- we longed to return to Android. Windows has never been friendly for touch use, and while ViewSonic has included a special environment that's designed to make applications and settings more accessible, in practice it takes a while to load and is no more useful than a set of well-appointed desktop icons. Another gripe, the included Swype keyboard would often appear at inopportune times, even when there was no option for text input. Priced at $849, we struggle to see much of a value proposition here. While the ViewPad 10pi attempts to be the jack of all trades, in reality it's just one big headache.