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PreCentral: The 800x480 "Chile" device found in Open webOS? Meet 2010's ViewSonic ViewPad 7

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The 800x480

While digging through the code released with Open webOS, some have noted that there's at least one device codename listed that we didn't know about to this point: "Chile". It's not a device we've heard of before, and an anonymous source has chimed in to let us know what this Chile device with its 800x480 landscape screen and headset switch was all about.

Back in the early days of HP's acquisition of Palm, the webOS team at Palm set out to show the HP board that yes, they could in fact make tablets. So they sourced eight 7-inch tablets directly from a Chinese OEM and installed webOS on them. According to our source they weren't ever intended to be a release product, they were just for internal demonstration purposes. Good thing too, as apparently the tablet was of such poor quality that after three weeks only two of the original eight still worked (though it's worth noting they weren't likely in mass production by the OEM at that point). The tablet's screens were also noticeably crooked behind the bezel and it required a pin to trigger the reset button (ah, that brings back memories).

That could have been the end of it, but in the end this tablet actually did see a public release. Except it wasn't Palm or HP that put it out, it was ViewSonic (better known for their monitors). The "Chile" was announced in August 2010 as the ViewSonic ViewPad 7 and released by the end of that year. It packed a 7-inch 800x480 screen, 512MB of storage (though with a Micro SD slot), a 600MHz Qualcomm processor, an unlocked GSM radio, a 3MP rear camera, and a 3240mAH battery. Oh, and it ran Android 2.2, barely modified by ViewSonic.

All things considered, the ViewPad 7 was a seriously underwhelming tablet when it was publicly unveiled (HP announced the 10-inch TouchPad a few months later), and decided to do much better when approaching the 7-inch size point with the TouchPad Go. But even so, this Chile tablet is a little interesting bit of webOS history.

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