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Borders taking orders for two Android tablets

Aug 23, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

Borders is now taking pre-orders for two seven-inch Android tablets, the $200 Cruz Reader and the $300 Cruz Tablet, and says the first of the devices will ship by the end of this month. Both tablets offer conventional backlit color touchscreens, but the Reader is resistive while the Tablet is capacitive, the reseller says.

Velocity Micro's Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet were announced last month along with a child-oriented, $150 Cruz StoryPad that Borders doesn't appear to be carrying. The device are positioned as vehicles for e-books, but they both use backlit color screens, run Android, and include Wi-Fi, web browsers, and a variety of other software.

Borders opened its website to pre-orders of the Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet today, and says the devices will ship on Sept. 30 and Oct. 15 respectively. There is still no information on what version of Android they'll use, however, nor have the tablets' CPUs been named.

Velocity Micro's Cruz Reader
(Click to enlarge)

The Cruz Reader is equipped with 256MB RAM, 256MB internal flash, and a 2GB SD card, whereas the Cruz Tablet offers 512MB RAM, 4GB internal flash, and an 8GB card, says Velocity Micro. Both offer a seven-inch touchscreen, but the Cruz Reader uses resistive technology (with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 800 x 600 resolution), while the Cruz Tablet moves up to a multitouch capacitive screen (with 800 x 480 resolution and a 16:9 ratio), the company says.

Cruz Tablet

(Click to enlarge)

Both tablet devices are equipped with a mini-USB port, as well as Wi-Fi, but the Reader uses 802.11b/g while the Tablet moves up to the higher-bandwidth 802.11n standard, says Velocity Micro. Both offer accelerometers and standard audio accoutrements, but the Tablet also offers a built-in microphone in addition to a mic jack, says the company.

A demonstration of the Cruz Reader
(click to play)

The Cruz Reader is available with a docking station with higher quality speakers, an option that is apparently not available with the Tablet.

Cruz Reader in docking station

(Click to enlarge)

Both the Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet supply removable batteries. The Reader is said to offer six hours of reading time on the spec list, but is touted by the press release as providing 10 hours of battery life and 24 hours of standby time. Meanwhile, the Cruz Tablet is said to offer six hours of video playback.

While the Reader is billed as an e-reader and the Tablet as a multimedia device, both are touted as offering high-quality audio and video playback. Specific resolutions and frame rates are not detailed, however.

Cruz Tablet, front and side views

The Cruz Tablet supports the same e-reader formats as the Reader, including ePub, as well as the Reader's 100 pre-installed e-books. Both devices also are said to offer the Borders app, which is said to provide access to some two million Borders e-books, plus a "Cruz Market" open content portal for apps, magazines, and videos.

Specifications listed for the Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet, with differences noted, include:

  • Memory:
    • RAM — 256MB (Reader) or 512MB (Tablet)
    • Internal flash — 256MB (Reader) or 4GB (Tablet)
    • External flash via SD card — 2GB (Reader) or 8GB (Tablet)
  • Display — 7-inch, 4:3 ratio, 800 × 600 resistive TFT (Reader) or 7-inch, 800 x 480, capacitive, 16:9 ratio multitouch (Tablet)
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g (Reader) or 802.11n (Tablet)
  • USB — Mini USB
  • Audio — mic jack; headphone jack; speakers; built-in mic (Tablet only)
  • Other features — accelerometers; docking station option with speakers (Reader only); rubberized back (Reader only)
  • Audio playback — MP3, WAV, AAC; WMA (Tablet only)
  • Video playback — MPEG-4, H.263, H.264; MOV/AVI (Tablet only)
  • Text support — ePub, PDF, TXT, HTML
  • Software:
    • Web browser and email
    • High res video and high quality audio playback with no proprietary content restrictions
    • Dictionary, notepad, calendar, alarm clock, contacts, games, other apps
    • 100+ pre-installed ebooks
    • Access to over two million ebooks via included Borders E-book portal app (possibly Reader only)
    • Access to the "Cruz Market" open content portal
  • Dimensions — 7.55 x 5.6 x 0.57 inches (Reader); 7.49 x 5.6 x 0.59 inches (Tablet)
  • Weight — Under 1 lb (Reader)
  • Battery — User-replaceable battery; 6+ hours reading (Reader); 6+ hours video (Tablet)
  • Operating system — Android

Cruz Reader
(Click to enlarge)

Further information

More information on the Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet may be found on the Velocity Micro website, here, and on the Borders website, here.

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