CES: Can Vizio be a mobile phone, tablet player? – ZDNet (blog)

Vizio is reportedly prepping tablets and mobile phones to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show and if it adapts its TV playbook it could be quite disruptive.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vizio will unveil tablets and mobile phones. Vizio is best known for making inexpensive LCD TVs.

The game plan for Vizio in the tablet and phone market mirrors its TV business. Crack a market, make affordable products and make the incumbents sweat.

Vizio is reportedly planning a 4-inch phone called the Via Phone. A Via Tablet will have an 8-inch screen. Both devices will run Google’s Android.

I’m highly skeptical about the chances for Vizio to be a major phone player. However, Vizio could be dangerous on the tablet front. After all, a tablet is really just a smaller screen. Vizio also has the distribution for tablets through its retail relationships. A Vizio phone has to be distributed by wireless carriers that don’t have an existing relationship with the company.

The set-up here is that Vizio could spark a race to the bottom on tablet pricing. Samsung would sweat Vizio’s entrance. Consumers are likely to cheerâ€"especially if Vizio can deliver a decent tablet at $ 199 or so.

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet’s sister site TechRepublic.