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    Vizio tablet shows up in inventory systems, celebs' hands; release coming soon? (update: $349)

    Vizio tablet shows up in inventory systems, celebs' hands; release coming soon? (update: $349)

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    You may recall that Vizio bucked its reputation as a television maker at CES this year by showing off early prototypes of an Android-powered phone and tablet. I'd personally forgotten about the whole thing -- six solid months of nonstop gadget news will do that to you -- but it seems that Vizio may be ramping up to start retailing the tablet before too long.

    Besides a recent FCC appearance, Engadget notes that NBA superstar Blake Griffin has posted a YouTube video where he gets a tour of the tablet in his newly Vizio-equipped home; the company rep that's with him says they're "getting ready to introduce" it, so that's a good sign. We don't get to see any of the trick VIA Plus integration points with Blake's 65-inch 3D telly -- photo sharing and the like -- but he does manage to pull up a remote app and turn the set off. That's a start.

    Just because a celeb has a device in-hand doesn't mean it's around the corner, though -- Dr. Dre had an HP TouchPad and Pre 3 in one of his music videos months ago, for instance, and we're still waiting on those. More telling might be a handful of shots we've received from a Walmart in Indiana: apparently signage and accessories for the tablet are starting to roll in, including Griffin screen protectors and lint-free cloths. Can't control your television with a smudgy tablet, now, can you? See the shots up close (plus Blake's video) after the break.

    [Thanks, @trevxor]

    Update: We've just been fed a shot of Walmart's placard for the tablet -- which does now appear to be coming to market simply as "Tablet" -- and it'll run $349 with an 8-inch display, GPS, and a front-facing camera. Still no solid word on a release date, but it's got to be awfully close. Granted, it doesn't have an IPS display, lacks any sort of 3G / 4G radio, and doesn't appear to have gotten a Honeycomb upgrade since its CES intro... but it's competitive with the 7-inch Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab, which retails for the same price. Follow the break for a shot. Thanks, Thomas!

    Vizio tablet shows up in inventory systems, celebs’ hands; release coming soon? (update: $349)