Cruz 7-inch, Android-based, color e-Readers and tablet incoming
By Paul Ridden
July 15, 2010
Velocity Micro is getting ready to release a couple of 7-inch, full color, Android e-Readers and a similarly-sized Android tablet computer. The Cruz reader features a resistive touchscreen, wireless connectivity, the Kobo eBook reading application and Internet browsing functionality. The Cruz tablet differs only in touchscreen technology, storage capacity and wireless connectivity, while the StoryPad has been created especially for kids.
The Cruz reader and tablet devices are currently operating on the Android 2.0 platform but may well benefit from a pre-launch upgrade. Beyond the Kobo reading application and Borders eBook library portal application (which sees the device come pre-loaded with 100 eBooks), the pair benefit from a standard "fast, simple, and easy to use" Android interface. They will also have access to a proprietary application service known as Cruz Market.
The company's Josh Covington told Gizmag that both devices "will be able to use Android apps, but will not have access to the Android Market because of Google's limitations on devices. That's where the Cruz Market comes in. Featuring best of breed Android apps that we've approved specifically for the specs of our devices, the Cruz Market will be a one stop shop for Cruz apps."
The 7-inch, 800 x 600 resolution color display of the Cruz reader has a 4:3 aspect ratio, auto-rotate functionality and uses resistive touchscreen technology. The 256MB of onboard storage is supplemented by an included 2GB SD card and its user-replaceable battery should give a good ten hours of usage between charges or 24 hours on stand-by. The 7.55 x 5.6 x 0.57-inch device has 802.11b/g wireless for eBook downloads and surfing the Internet using the Android browser, as well as USB cabled connectivity. Through its stereo speakers or headphone jack, MP3, WAV or AAC audio files can be played and audio books listened to.
The device supports MPEG-4, H.263 and H.264 video playback and ePub, PDF, TXT, HTML reader formats. There's a built-in dictionary, notepad, calendar, alarm clock, contacts, games and a host of other useful apps. The Cruz reader also comes shipped with a handy docking station.
The 7.49 x 5.6 x 0.59-inch Cruz tablet is almost the same as the e-Reader apart from its 800 x 480 resolution, capacitive touchscreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. There's 4GB of onboard storage and an 8GB SD card thrown in too. Wireless connectivity comes in the shape of faster 802.11n and there's additional audio (WMA) and video (MOV/AVI) format support. It doesn't come shipped with a docking station though, but there is an integrated microphone.
And lastly, one for the kids. Velocity Micro has also created a special drop-resistant eBook reading device for younger hands which will be available in pink, blue and green, comes with a gigabyte of storage, simplified navigation and will come pre-installed with a range of children's classics. Like its stable-mate, the StoryPad will have a 7-inch, 800 x 600 resolution color display with resistive touchscreen technology but there'll be no wireless connectivity, "which makes it safer for kids."
The Cruz e-Reader and StoryPad will be released in August for US$199 and US$149 respectively, with the US$299 Cruz tablet following on three weeks later.
The following video shows some of the functionality of the Cruz e-Reader:
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