updated 03:55 pm EST, Sat December 18, 2010
ViewSonic gTablet pulled from Staples
Google and NVIDIA together faced their second setback together in as many months today as a leak on Saturday revealed that Staples was pulling the ViewSonic gTablet from shelves. The Android 2.2 tablet is being shipped away due to a "manufacturing defect" and its display area removed entirely. No indication has been given to the CrunchGear tipster that the gTablet will ever return, and customers seeing this week's flyer will be told that there's no equivalent replacement because of how soon it was brought to market.
"As this was one of the first tablets coming to market, there is not currently a comparable product," floor staff were told to say.
Neither Staples nor Viewsonic has explained what the flaw was or whether the gTablet would return fixed.
The news of the failure comes just over a month after another prominent withdrawal of another NVIDIA Tegra 2-based tablet. UK retailers pulled the Toshiba Folio 100 after stores received a large number of complaints about both defects and overall poor build quality. Other tablets with the dual-core chip are still on shelves, including the Advent Vega, though it has seen Flash support withdrawn owing to the lack of optimization for the Tegra 2.
Google has already advised its partners to avoid making Android 2.2 tablets and may have been validated by the recent troubles, which have left very few tablets outside of the Samsung Galaxy Tab on a wide range of shelves. It had primarily been addressing interface issues, but the absence of interface optimizations may have now been joined by a mismatch between the software and the relatively early hardware. NVIDIA is expected to make Tegra 2 the focus of its CES presentation in early January, but much of the hardware could be based on a true tablet version of Android and won't ship until months later.