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$249 ViewSonic ViewBook 730 Tablet Challenges Nook Color, HTC Flyer

Thus far ViewSonic has seen mixed results with its tablets, but the ViewBook 730 already has one very important thing going for it: a low price. This 7-inch Android 2.2 slate costs $249, the same price as the Nook Color and half as much as the HTC Flyer. And ViewSonic doesn't charge you $80 for the stylus.

Yup, like the Flyer, the ViewBook  lets you take notes on its screen using what ViewSonic calls RiteTouch technology. You can also highlight books and use the bundled Sketcher app for creating digital art on the go. The 800 x 480 resolution is lower than the HTC Flyer's 1024 x 600, and you don't get Evernote built in, but the price is certainly "rite" for students. Read on for more details.

As a Nook Color alternative, the ViewBook 730 has a bunch of Amazon services on board, including the Amazon Appstore and Kindle for reading eBooks. Twitter, Amazon MP3, Twitter, and Mediafly are also bundled. A 1-GHz Cortex A8 processor powers this tablet, which also includes an HDMI output for 1080p video and a front-facing VGA camera for video chats (though we're not sure what services will work). Expect up to 8 hours of battery life.

The ViewBook 730 comes with 8GB of memory, which you can expand to 32GB via the microSD card slot. The fact that this tablet runs Froyo instead of Gingerbread is disappointing, so we're hoping that the included AirSync technology for over-the-air updates will give this slate some staying power. The ViewBook 730 will be available at the end of June. Stay tuned for a full review.