The tablet/MID market may be losing one of its most unique vendors. According to Chippy of UMPC Portal, sources close to Viliv say the Korean gadget-maker is shutting its doors. We reached out to our PR contact at Viliv, only to have our e-mail to him bounce back. The company also raised suspicion in June when it declined to appear at Computex Taipei, a show where it had demoed new products in the past.
Update: A spokesman for Dynamism, Viliv’s leading distribution partner here in the U.S., confirmed the rumors saying “Viliv has been having financial difficulties and is seeking a buyer or alliance. We think they have wonderful product and hope that happens! But buyers today should assume there will be no official warranty.” He said that Dynamism will provides its own 30-day warranty on the Viliv products it’s selling right now.
Though its products were never widely distributed in the U.S., Viliv was known for pushing the envelope with innovatively designed tablets and one of the industry’s only fully functioning 5-inch Windows notebooks, the Viliv N5. At CES 2011, Viliv showed off its unique X70 Windows slate, which had a touchpad and mouse buttons built into the bezel, while at Computex 2010, the company demoed the X10, which was first 10-inch Android slate we’d seen.
Viliv’s products were also known for their strong build quality and attractive designs. The rubberized body and amazingly tactile keyboard on the Viliv N5 are great examples of the company’s ability to create premium designs. Unfortunately, major U.S. retailers didn’t share geeks’ enthusiasm for Viliv products, as importer Dynamism was their main distributor here.
As of this writing, Dynamism.com is still selling four Viliv products on its site — the N5 notebook, the S5 tablet, the S7 tablet, and the X70 tablet.