I just got an email from Creative Technologies, the company well know for their Sound Blaster range of audio peripherals for the PCs and the Zen range of MP3 players. In the email they say that they’ve just launched the ZiiO range of Android based Entertainment Tablets.
Both the devices are powered by ZiiLABS ZMS-08, Arm Cortex 8 processor running at 1Ghz. The specs also show that both these run on Android 2.1, with no mention of future upgrade path of the devices to the newer Android versions.
Screen and Display:
The ZiiO 7″ and 10″ tablets sport a 7 inch and 10 inch TFT resistive screens respectively. The 7″ model supports a maximum of 16 million colors with a resolution 480 x 800 pixels, while the 10″ device is capable of displaying 262k colors at a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.
The resistive screens of the devices allow the artistic minded users to use a Stylus for drawing on screen, the only task which I can think of why they’d bundle a resistive screen with the devices.
Their claim to fame for the ZiiO range is the stereo speakers on the device and the device’s ability to stream music to their own range of Wireless Speakers and headsets. Both devices come with Creative’s apt-x codec and lossless audio format support which is supposed to deliver a high quality wireless audio experience. Creative’s X-Fi Crystalizer is also supposed to enhance the audio output quality by analyzing audio files, identifying elements lost or damaged during the compression process, and re-masters them using selective audio enhancement.
The ZiiO devices also come with an internal mono microphone and a 3.5 mm audio connector. So you can use your favorite headset with the device. Other than a front facing VGA camera, for video calls, both the ZiiO devices don’t sport a decent camera.
The devices also connect to your TV screen with HD video output (upto 720p), for which they’ve not bundled the cables with the pack. Being touted as an entertainment device, I’d at least expect that the video cables be bundled in the sales pack.
According to specs on their site, the both the ZiiO 7″ and 10″ come with a 8GB and 6GB variant. This storage can be expanded up to a further 32GB via a Memory card.
While 3G is conspiciously missing in the specs, the devices are WiFi enabled and Bluetooth enabled. You can also connect the device via USB to your PC and transfer media.
Also from the specifications of the devices from the Creative site, its unclear if these devices have access to the Android Market for downloading apps. The line on their site vaguely states that you may have to head out to Creative’s own ZiiStore to shop for stuff. From their site, “As an Android OS-based tablet, you can send emails on the move and download exciting content ranging from fun apps and games to eBooks from the Creative ZiiStore.“
On the whole, the ZiiO’s have seem to have fallen flat as a tablet device. The hardware is not really exciting, and the lack of the Android App store ties down the device to what Creative wants you to buy from their store. Unless you’re looking for an oversized Portable Media Player, the ZiiO tablet is definitely not the right device for you.
Here’s a video from Creative showing off the product: