One tablet for Windows and Android? It exists (but you may not want it)

Viewsonic has launched its ViewPad 10pro tablet, a unique slate that supports both Microsoft Windows 7(s msft) and Google Android(s goog). The new ViewPad runs on Intel’s Atom(s intc) processor and starts at $599 for a 16 GB model with Windows 7 Home Premium. An extra $100 boosts the flash storage to 32 GB and includes Windows 7 Professional. Viewsonic says both models will be available later this month and will work with a $59 optional keyboard dock.

Some of the design and feature highlights include:

  • 1.5 GHz Intel Oak Trail Atom CPU (Z670)
  • 2 GB of system RAM
  • 16 or 32 GB of flash memory storage
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
  • 1.3-megapixel front-facing webcam
  • USB port, mini HDMI, microSD card slot
  • 1.97 pounds

Unlike other dual-booting devices, the new ViewPad only boots into Microsoft Windows. Android apps run through virtualization technology from Bluestacks, so there’s no need to shut down Windows and boot into the Android operating system. As innovative as the ViewPad 10pro sounds, Viewsonic made a design blunder as I see it: The 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen uses a lowly 1024×600 resolution, similar to lower-priced netbooks.

Obviously Windows is usable at this resolution on a 10-inch screen, given that netbooks have used that same configuration for a few years now. But at a starting price of $599, it’s a bit of a disappointment. No other hardware was needed to add the Android functionality, so the ViewPad 10pro isn’t really a “two devices in one” when it comes to hardware.

It may be that adding Bluestacks and support for Android apps had something to do with the display resolution choice. The device is using a smartphone version of Android, which generally supports lower resolution screens. But the display decision likely loses far more than it gains. Users of the relatively expensive tablet will suffer in a low-resolution version of Windows and only occasionally reap the benefits of Android on the 10-inch slate.