Viewsonic's first seriously sized tablet, the ViewPad 10, gives a perfect demonstration of how little the right hardware really matters in this growing market.

Tablet PCs have been around for aeons, but until Apple got in on the action by injecting it's iPhone with growth hormones, they were poorly functioning badges of geekdom, not the highly desirable, consumer products they are (or can be) today.

As well designed and as well made as it indeed is, the iPad still represents a very locked-down look at the mobile world. What we've been waiting for is a device to rival it with the freedom of creation and expression that the more open platforms offer.

And every time we see a new tablet from outside the Jobsian world there's a little something in all of us that's hoping this time the designers and manufacturers have got it right.

viewpad 10

To be honest though, we hardly needed to lay eyes on the ViewPad to know it didn't stand a chance.

The first surprise is in the name. Viewsonic is not normally a name we'd associate with producing a tablet device; it's more well known for its monitors and projectors.

But thankfully, at least this is no Next tablet. The Android OS is the only similarity the Viewpad boasts compared to that poor excuse for a paper-weight. And Viewsonic has also seen fit to cram another operating system on there too in order to distract you away from any comparison. Yep, this is a dual-booting effort, packing both Windows 7 Home Premium and Android 1.6.

viewpad 10

The dual-booting nature of the ViewPad 10 is one of the few standout features of this new tablet, the other is the use of the Intel Atom N455 processor at its heart.

That Atom CPU is the saving grace for the Windows 7 Home Premium OS that represents the ViewPad's other boot option.