Pictures and news of the 15.6-inch Vega tablet hit the wind in November, and since then, the technosphere has been clamoring to get their greasy prints on this Android 2.0, touch-ready device. The technolust is largely attributed to the pairing of an Nvidia Tegra chip with 3G and Wi-Fi capability, plus a high-definition display that screens video at 1080p.
The Vega has been confirmed as a T-Mobile device in the UK, and in Las Vegas during CES 2010, we met with T-Mobile UK and ICD for a brief seat-and-greet demo of this anticipated device.
Bad News First: No Plans for U.S. Availability Just Yet
Sadly, the ICD Vega has only been confirmed for release in the UK. When we asked T-Mobile about a possible U.S. release, the rep's response was hopeful but far from definite.
Not Just For Your Mobile Pleasure
Still want to dream of sitting on the couch, watching 1080p movie trailers in YouTube HD? Well, you can, but you should know this tablet does more than web-connectivity and fancy video. T-Mobile UK was quick to emphasize that the Vega's inception comes from more family-oriented goals. The carrier worked closely with ICD to develop a Android calender that can display schedules for everyone in the household via a touch-friendly user interface. Here's a shot of that software.
Designed as a digital secretary hub for the kitchen counter, the Vega keeps the modern fragmented family connected with the following perks:
- a specially-built calender that displays everyone's whereabouts and alerts the group via SMS or email when events change or are finished
- the ability for the family schedule master to access and update events from the Vega tablet at homebase
- functionality to receive and display images from users via MMS text message or email
- software to make phone calls (either over speaker phone or with a Bluetooth headset), Skype calls over the web, and video calls via the 1.3-MP webcam - these three features are in the works
At 15.6-inches the Vega is a sturdy piece of machinery and, though I don't know the exact weight, you feel the heft when you remove the device from its magnet docking station. Because of its size and weight, the Vega isn't something you'll want to hold with one hand for extended periods of time.
The Vega's dock is also a stout piece of work. For now the dock serves as a stand and charging station for the Vega, but ICD showed us another version of the dock with a built-in speaker for extra audio oomph. No word if that dock will come with the device or will be sold separately.
Display, Audio, and Performance
Though we didn't browse the Android OS much ourselves, touch response time while using Vega's resistive display was snappy under the careful control of our demo guide. T-Mobile's calender software and the Android web browser opened up instantly, and heading over to the "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" trailer while surfing the web took no time at all.
Though there were reports of high-def output, the Vega demo'ed for us didn't have an HDMI port.
Though ICD is planning that supplementary audio system in an alternative docking station, the speaker included on the back of the tablet filled the room, a huge suite in the Venetian hotel, with sound. You'd have no problem listening to music or watching movies with the present sound system.
Our time with the Vega has only fueled our enthusiasm and anticipation for the device, especially as a tablet for media and web surfing. T-Mobile's family calender functionality is a perk that's more than welcome, but, let's face it, even if this device sits on a kitchen counter all day, it's still a 15.6-inch high-resolution tablet with a Tegra processor, snappy Wi-Fi, and 3G connectivity. Even the family chief that's in charge of tracking the tribe is going to use it to a little high-definition R & R from time to time.