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ViewSonic's 'MovieBook' Expands PC Push

ViewSonic has been dabbling in the PC business for some time and reaffirmed its commitment to producing a variety of computers with a batch of announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in Las Vegas this week.

The company announced nine new mobile and desktop PC products today, ranging from notebooks to all-in-one PCs, all with the common aim of reducing power and fitting into a small space. The innovative MovieBook, described farther down, plays back high definition video and will have a retail price of $139.99.

ViewSonic, a newcomer to PCs, isn't interested in taking on HP, Dell and Acer, which so dominate the market. Instead, it is targeting places where its all-in-one and mini-desktop can be mounted while taking little room. The desktop unit can be mounted on the back of a monitor stand to keep it out of the way. Dell, however, does have a similar offering used in medical offices.

"We believe we have a customer base and brand that allows us to create a small format PC brand that is not directly competing with an HP or Dell but allows us to enter into a space that has demand for innovation in a small format," Jeff Volpe, vice president and general manager of ViewSonic Americas told InternetNews.com.

ViewSonic has more than 30 million customers for its displays, and is counting on them as the place to start selling its PCs. "Our angle to enter into the PC space is to leverage our existing customer base and also leverage small format PCs for a smarter, greener initiative. We've been able to put together a replacement strategy for PCs that allow for less energy consumption and less plastic use," he added.

ViewSonic desktop is the VOT125 PC Mini, which uses low wattage Celeron and Core 2 processors, comes with 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, four USB 2.0 ports, DVI-I and HDMI outputs and a 3-in-1 card reader for multiple connectivity options and Windows 7 Home Premium. It starts at $499.

The company also introduced the 13.3-inch VNB131 ViewBook Pro notebook with an ultra-low voltage Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Windows 7 Home Premium. The notebook is only an inch thick but has a 320GB hard drive, 2GB internal memory and a removable DVD RW Super Multi drive, wireless networking, USB ports and a multicard reader and its battery can support up to eight hours of computing time. The VNB131 comes out in February at an MSRP of $949.

ViewSonic also introduced two other ULV notebooks, the 13.3-inch VNB132 and 14-inch VNB141 ViewBooks that come with a Celeron and Core 2 Duo, respectively. Other than the CPU and screen size differences, their specs are the same as the VNB131. These two come out in March and will have MSRPs of $649 and $829.

The VNB105 ViewBook netbook is a 10-inch netbook with an Intel Atom N450 processor, Windows 7 Starter operating system, 1GB of internal memory and a 160GB hard drive along with wireless networking, USB ports and a multicard reader. Its starting price is $399.

The last PC is the 18.5-inc VPC190 All-in-One PC, which comes with a dual-core Atom D510 processor, 2GB of memory, Windows 7 Home Premium, wireless networking, USB ports and a multicard reader. It will be available in March for an MSRP of $599.

Here comes the newest MovieBook

ViewSonic also made a more consumer-focused announcement with the expansion of what it calls the MovieBook lineup of portable media players that are just three to five inches in screen size but able to play back high definition video.

The VPD550T is a five-inch 800x480 high-resolution LCD touchscreen with HDMI output, capable of displaying 1080p high definition video or playing high-quality audio. The device has just 8GB of flash memory and no DVD drive but it does have an SD card slot.

It can display or play HD movies, photo albums, digital books and music and also has a calendar/clock, stopwatch and a voice memo recorder. The VPD550T and the 720p VPD513T will ship some time this quarter with MSRPs of $199.99 and $189.99, respectively.

ViewSonic also introduced the smaller, three-inch display touch-enabled VPD313T. This player offers a 480x272 resolution, 480p screen, 4GB of internal memory and supports a full range of video and audio formats. It's due some time this quarter with an MSRP of $149.99.

Finally, the company launched the VPD403 MovieBook, which has a 4.3-inch 480x272 high-resolution screen, video output support of up to 720p, 4GB of internal memory and user intuitive buttons, this device is great for enjoying favorite videos, music, photos or eBooks. The VPD403 will be available in Q1 2010 for an estimated MSRP of $139.99.