Verizon is making the jump from wireless carrier to hardware vendor with the Ellipsis 7, the first tablet bearing Big Red’s brand name.
It’s a typical-looking Android tablet with last year’s tech specs, priced at either $250, or $150 with a two-year contract. The screen measures 7 inches with a resolution of 1280-by-800, and inside there’s a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and a mere 8 GB of storage. The Ellipsis 7 also has a 3.2-megapixel camera in back, and users can add more storage through a microSD card slot. The tablet measures 0.4 inches thick and weighs roughly 0.8 pounds.
For software, the Ellipsis 7 runs Android 4.2.2, and Verizon is pre-loading the tablet with a handful of apps. Verizon Messages allows users to send and receive text messages from the tablet (something you can accomplish on any tablet with third-party apps), while Redbox Instant is Verizon’s answer to Netflix. Amazon’s Kindle app and Plants vs. Zombies 2 are onboard as well.
As with Verizon’s shared data plans, the Ellipsis 7 offers just enough value to dance the line between reasonable and ripoff. Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX are both cheaper at $230, and most likely better, but neither of them have 4G LTE at that price. Google does sell a 32 GB Nexus 7 with 4G LTE, but it’s more expensive at $350, and Verizon is taking its sweet time to unblock the Nexus 7 from its network. For a tablet with 4G LTE built-in, the Ellipsis 7 is Verizon’s cheapest option, and you can be sure Verizon employees will give the hard sell to whoever comes in looking for an iPad.
Apparently the Ellipsis 7 won’t be Verizon’s only hardware venture. A press release says the tablet is “the first product from Verizon Wireless in the Ellipsis family.” It’s easy to imagine Verizon selling its own smartphones or larger tablets down the line. And if the Ellipsis 7 is any indication, they’ll compete on price rather than smart or imaginative features.