ViewSonic announces 7-inch iPad killer

ViewSonic has launched a seven-inch tablet to rival the Apple iPad.

The company has jumped the gun on Apple by launching its mini-tablet the day before a mysterious Cupertino press conference at which some pundits are suggesting the company may announce its widely rumoured seven-inch version of the iPad.

ViewSonic's device looks set to trump Apple on a number of scores, though. In addition to full phone and data capabilities, the ViewPad 7 boasts a front-facing VGA resolution camera for making VoIP video calls, and a rear-facing three-megapixel camera.

Like fellow iPad rival, the Dell Streak, ViewSonic's ViewPad 7 is based on Google's Android operating system - but it runs the latest version 2.2, code-named 'Froyo', rather than the 2.1 'Éclair' version that is expected to be released to Streak users in the UK on 1 September.

So far, UK-based Streak users have had to put up with a rather long-in-the-tooth Android 1.6, code-named 'Donut'.

In addition to its seven-inch capacitative touchscreen, the ViewPad 7 includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and e-book reading capabilities. It comes with 32GB of storage built in, and a microSD card slot to add more.

ViewSonic looks like it may be out to start a price war in the mini-tablet market too, with a suggested retail price of just £350 inc VAT.