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Vizio Launches AIO, Notebook, Ultrabook Lines

June 14, 2012 By Nancy Klosek
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Vizio announced Thursday that it has entered the personal computer market with a line of all-in-ones (AIOs) and portable lines in the notebook and Ultrabook categories.

The models, two years in the development, consist of 24- and 27-inch AIOs, 14- and 15.6-inch notebooks, and the Thin + Light 14- and 15.6-inch Ultrabook line.  Each category’s entry-level model has been set at the $898 price point, and all the units are powered by different varieties of third-generation Intel Core processors. They run Microsoft’s Signature software, which is said to eliminate much of the “bloatware” and redundancies that are found on most PCs out of the box.

The AIOs offer a Full HD 1080p display, and their outboard power supply is embedded within a separate subwoofer that provides 2.1-channel SRS surround audio in combination with the built-in speakers at the monitor’s base. The models are supplied with a wireless keyboard whose dedicated “V” key at the upper left allows one-touch access to various services such as Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Hulu Plus. Also supplied are a remote control and a touchpad with multi-touch gesture support.  Their form factor is a thin stand where all connections snake up through a hand-assembled aluminum arm that permits the attached LCD monitor to be pivoted with an invisible hinge.

The anodized aluminum notebooks also offer Full 1080p HD display capability SRS sound and a seven-hour battery life; a concealed passive heat venting system pulls cool air in to eliminate the need for grilles and fans.

The Thin + Light models feature quick boot-up capability and an ultra-thin .66-inch profile by virtue of the chassis’ unibody construction.

The machines were developed in close consultation with teams from both Intel and Microsoft, according to Vizio chief technology officer Matt McRae. He remarked that while some might question the company’s entry into “a mature industry with entrenched competition, the best answer is that eight to 10 years ago, Vizio entered a similar industry: the TV industry,” with great success. To support his assertion, he cited iSuppli Q1 figures showing Vizio as the Number One LCD TV company in the U.S.

“The PC is now an entertainment device,” said McRae, “and that is why Vizio is moving into the space.”

Vizio plans to take the line on the road, said McRae, via an Experience Center built into a 40-foot shipping container that will be deployed in multiples to Microsoft stores and later, to venues such as college campuses and music festivals.  Other merchandising tactics will include making available smaller product “pods” for retail showroom use, he added.
 

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