updated 12:15 pm EDT, Sat August 21, 2010
Velocity Micro Cruz Reader preorders go live
Velocity Micro committed itself to the world of tablets late on Friday by opening preorders for the Cruz Reader. The seven-inch Android 2.1 slate is now due to ship both online and to electronics stores in early September for $200. The wider-aspect Cruz Tablet ($300) and child oriented StoryPad ($150) are due to ship later the same month.
At seven inches, the Cruz Reader is intended both as an e-book device and as a general media player. It has just an 800x480 resolution like many regular-sized smartphones, but in a 4:3 ratio better suited to reading text. Velocity Micro also preloads Borders' bookstore app and promises access to about two million titles. It can handle 720p video and has about 4GB of storage on a microSD card.
While coming from a company best known for its custom gaming PCs, the Cruz Reader may be the first true mainstream, widely available Android tablet in the US. Excepting the clouded and limited availability of the Augen GenTouch78, Android has been virtually non-existent in the tablet space and won't have many of its major releases arrive until the fall or early 2011. Many, such as Notion Ink's Adam, have been delayed to implement optimized apps for the larger screen area.
Apple has been virtually uncontested in the relatively new touch-only tablet category. It now has near complete share both in the actual market and in mind share, as most customers are not only much more aware of the iPad but aren't conscious of alternatives that either exist or have yet to ship.