Creative enters tablet computing market
By Paul Ridden
November 3, 2010
Creative Technology has announced its break into the tablet computer market with the forthcoming release of the 7- and 10-inch ZiiO entertainment devices. The tablets are said to deliver the "best wireless audio performance you will get from an Android-based tablet" and also offer fuss-free Bluetooth pairing with the company's headphones and speakers. Also announced is the Zen Touch 2 media player.
Both ZiiO tablets will run on the Android 2.1 operating system and get their processing power from Creative's ZiiLABS ZMS-08 HD Media-Rich Applications Processor. The 7-inch model offers a screen resolution of 480 x 800 with 16.8 million colors, while the 10-inch offers 1024 x 600 with 252,000 colors. Sadly, Creative has opted for a resistive touchscreen interface, so there's no pinching or zooming available here but, as you might expect from a big name in audio product manufacture, the sound is said to be what separates this tablet offering from the competition.
Both ZiiO models benefit from Creative's X-Fi Crystalizer and X-Fi Expand technologies. X-Fi Crystalizer restores CD-quality playback to digital music files, and X-Fi Expand adds realism to sound effects in games and movies. They both come with Bluetooth 2.1 wireless technology which, together with the apt-X codec, is said to allow the streaming of high fidelity stereo digital music content to the company's range of compatible headphones and speakers.
Also on offer is 802.11b/g wireless connectivity, HDMI-out and mini-USB ports, a front-facing VGA-quality camera, accelerometer, and microSD card support on the 7-inch model, with SD card support on the 10-inch version. Users can slot in extra storage to complement the 8GB or 16GB offered with each model.
There's no word on U.S. pricing, but the ZiiO tablets are set for a December release in Europe and Singapore. The 7-inch tablet is priced at SGD359 (US$278) for the 8GB model and SGD389 (US$302) for the 16GB. The 10-inch version carries a price tag of SGD429 (US$333) for the 8GB model and SGD459 (US$356) for the 16GB.
At the same time, Creative has also announced the release of the Zen Touch 2 media player. Available in two versions, each with a 3.2-inch touchscreen display and either 8GB or 16GB of storage, the device offers lossless music playback via Bluetooth 2.1 to any compatible headphones or speakers. In addition to a standard version, the player is also offered with enhanced functionality, including GPS, digital compass and FM radio. The player also runs on Android 2.1 and benefits from 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity, a built-in speaker, 2MP camera and a microSD slot for storage expansion.
The Zen Touch 2 is also penciled in for a December release slot and is priced at SGD279 (US$216) for the 8GB standard version, SGD319 (US$247) for the 16GB standard version and SGD299 (US$232) for the 8GB enhanced version. As with the ZiiO tablets, there's no mention of a U.S. release slot.