California TV Maker Unveils Ultrabooks, All-in-One PCs

Irvine, California’s Vizio, which is best known for its affordable high-definition TVs, has unveiled five new Windows 7-based computers. Pricing starts at just under $900.

Vizio has made a name for itself by selling affordable but still high-quality high-definition televisions in major retail outlets, like Wal-Mart. Now that it’s successfully taken on Samsung and Sony in the TV market, it appears the firm is ready for a new challenge.

Of course, the big question is how Vizio will distinguish itself in an incredibly competitive PC market.

Right now, Vizio’s most visible strategy is to simply cut the fat. It’s doing that by eliminating “bloatware”, or that third-party software that usually comes pre-loaded on new laptop and desktop PCs. By doing away with trial versions of games, antivirus programs, and other software most people don’t want, Vizio PCs will run a lot quicker from the get-go.

“The software image is fully optimized and contains no bloatware that can ruin the customer experience and reduces overall system performance,” insists Vizio CTO, Matt McRae.

Vizio’s initial offering of five PCs reportedly includes two “ultrabooks” (or thin and very powerful laptop computers), one standard notebook, and two all-in-one desktop PCs. The ultrabooks use 14-inch displays, while the standard laptop comes with a 15.6-inch screen. The all-in-one desktops come equipped with 24- and 27-inch displays.

All boast some seriously quick performance; for example, the standard 15.6-inch laptop features a 30-second boot-up time. That performance is partly possible because Vizio has done away with the bloatware.

Given that they come equipped with large, lush 1080p screens and 3D SRS (Sound Retrieval System) speakers, the all-in-one devices are being marketed as real media machines. Both include HDMI inputs allowing users to connect to cable or console hardware.

These won’t be the cheapest computers on the market, however. The laptops retail for $898 and up, while the all-in-one PCs start at $1,098.

A variety of retailers, including Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, Microsoft, and Amazon, will all begin showing desktop virtualizations of the Vizio PCs in the next few weeks.

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