VIA, the technology company owned by Formosa Plastics Group and former Intel partner, has told Businessweek that it expects a number of manufacturers to release a number of iPad rival tablets for as little as $100 using its hardware in the second half of 2010.
Interestingly enough, VIA will shun x86 technologies and instead use the more popular and mobile-friendly ARM architecture to build the tablets. VIA did not say whether it will customise its own x86 range of ultra low power processors like the VIA C7 or the Eden.
Richard Brown, the company's Vice President of marketing, confirmed that the tablets will be running Android OS, pointing to a growing trend that pits the company in direct competition with other ARM-based rivals and Intel's own Moorestown range of Atom processors.
Brown told Businessweek (opens in new tab) that the launch of the iPad by Apple had "legitimated" the tablet market and the introduction of better, more powerful version of Google's Android OS had brought a lot of "diversity" to the market.
VIA has had a VIA Tablet PC design on the table as early as July 2002, one which offered a 10.4-inch electro-magnetic digitizer portrait screen with Firewire, Wireless and Windows XP. Obviously, it never gained momentum.
At least one Chinese manufacturer, Blue Sky, has launched a tablet PC, the Ebook EP10 (opens in new tab), which packs a VIA processor, 128MB memory, 2GB Flash, a 10.1-inch screen and weighs under 1Kg.