Creative enters the tablet game with powerful ZiiO Android tablets [Updated: Video]

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It seems virtually everyone is rushing to enter the tablet game these days, so it's not too surprising to see another new player. We haven't heard much from Creative recently but here they are with something new to show. After announcing the powerful ARM Cortex-A8 based ZMS-08 processor last year, the company has finally revealed some new products using the technology in the form of the Creative ZiiO 7 and 10 Android tablets. With a 1GHz Cortex A8 core at its heart, the ZiiLABS ZMS-08 HD Media-Rich Applications Processor also features superb media features including playback of 1080p Blu-Ray quality HD video, X-Fi enhanced sound technology, and hardware 3D graphics acceleration.

The 7-inch ZiiO features a WVGA resistive touch screen contained in a very simple white plastic body. Other hardware includes a front-facing VGA webcam, 8 or 16GB of local storage expandable via microSD, b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, very comprehensive audio/video codec support, and various standard connections such as HDMI output, mini USB, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Set to ship with Android 2.1 with a promised upgrade to Android 2.2, the ZiiO tablet like many rivals will be unable to access Android Market out of the box; support for the store is said to be coming in the update to 2.2. For the time being, users will be able to download some apps from Creative's own ZiiStore. So far price and availability have been mentioned only for Europe, with the 8GB Ziio 7 costing £199.99 (around US$322) and set to ship later this month.

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As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it's good to see Creative throw its hat into the ring, particularly with a device using the impressive ZMS-08 processor. The company is primarily positioning the tablets as media consumption devices with competitive prices and specifications, as well as extra video/audio playback enhancement features to differentiate them from rivals.

The resistive screen and lack of access to Android Market are currently the main drawbacks on paper, but I'm intrigued to see how the final device fares in the market and look forward to its release. Anyone else looking forward to Creative's entry into the tablet game?

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Updated 11/04/2010: The team over at Electric Pig managed to get their hands on a ZiiO 7 sharing some first impressions and putting up a nice video overview of the device. The tablet is said to have good performance with the resistive screen being responsive and easy to use. They also confirmed that the tablet will not be able to access Android Market using its current 2.1 software. Check out the video below!

[Pocket-lint | Creative UK | Electric Pig]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.