ViewSonic: Trade in laptop, upgrade to tablet

Viewsonic is offering cash back for users who trade in their laptops for new tablets

ViewSonic is trying to cash in on the growing excitement around tablets by offering cash back for buyers who trade in their laptops for new ViewPad tablets.

The company is offering up to £125 (US$168) cash back to users who trade in their old laptops or netbooks to "upgrade" to new ViewSonic ViewPad 7 or ViewPad 10 tablets, which come with 7-inch and 10-inch screens respectively.

The ViewPad offer is currently valid in the U.K., according to the company's ViewPad upgrade Web site. Retailers are already taking preorders for the device, and ViewSonic has not commented on the shipment of the tablets.

One online retailer participating in the trade-in program, Misco, is taking orders for the ViewPad 7 for £399.99 without the discount, and the ViewPad 10 for £429, also without the discount.

The ViewPad 10 is based on Intel's Atom chips and can dual-boot into Windows 7 or Android, and will ship early next year in the U.S. for $629. The ViewPad 7, which runs on an Arm processor and is based on Android OS, will be available in "late" fourth quarter for around $479.

The cash offer could be a way to encourage users to adopt tablet computers, which is a new category of handheld computing devices designed for Web browsing, gaming, viewing video and reading e-books. The demand for tablet computers is already on the rise as a larger number of consumers shift to the device for media consumption.

The tablets are also negatively impacting laptop shipments, according to IDC. During the third quarter, the hype surrounding Apple's iPad led consumers to delay laptop purchases. Consumers were waiting for the tablet market to develop before deciding what laptop to buy.

Tablets have also impacted netbooks, whose proportion of overall mobile computer shipments diminished during the third quarter this year, according to IDC. The netbook's share of overall laptop shipments is expected to decline by as much as 8 percent in 2011, according to IDC.

The tablet market is currently dominated by iPad, but shipments of tablets will continue to grow as new models hit the market, IDC said. Tablet shipments could touch around 40 million next year, according to IDC. Gartner has said tablet shipments could touch 54.8 million next year.

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