Looks like Creative's Ziio touchscreen tablet to be offered in Dec in Singapore at half the price of Apple's iPad! This is going to be interesting. Let's hope Creative can score with this one :)
By WINSTON CHAI
CREATIVE Technology is looking to rediscover the Midas touch with new touchscreen tablets that promise to go head-to-head with Apple's wildly popular iPad in functionality - but at half the price.
The homegrown company, which suffered a first-quarter loss of US$3.6 million as sales of its music and media players continue to wane, will be hoping to turn the tide by latching on to the latest consumer craze for touch-screen gizmos.
Creative's new product family, dubbed Ziio, will initially comprise two models: a 7-inch and a 10-inch touchscreen tablet. These will be offered with memory capacities of 8 gigabyte (GB) and 16 GB respectively.
Both will be powered by Creative's self-developed ZMS-08 processor and run Google's Android 2.1 operating system (OS).
Android is the favoured choice of companies looking to emulate Apple's success as it is seen as the closest contender to the operating system the latter uses on the iPhone and iPad.
Last week, Singapore Telecom announced it had scored an exclusive deal to sell Samsung's Android-powered tablet - the Galaxy Tab - from next week.
Other gadget makers including Hewlett-Packard, Viewsonic, Asus and Acer are also expected to throw down the gauntlet in the coming months.
While Apple's touch-screen slate has a minimum price tag of $728, Creative's basic Ziio model is more than 50 per cent cheaper at $359.
Besides costing less, the Ziio has another key selling point in its audio performance. The use of Creative's X-Fi technology means its tablets can deliver audio that rivals a high-end speaker system, the company said in a statement.
Industry watchers believe Creative's latest product foray should benefit from the growing popularity of the tablet-form factor. However, it would be tough for any company to lay claim to the mantle of iPad killer, they said.
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the iPad accounted for a whopping 95 per cent of the 4.4 million tablets that were shipped globally in the third quarter this year.
As in the iPad, consumers will be able to download applications on to Creative Ziio tablets from the Web and the company's online ZiiStore.
Wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, along with a built-in camera and support for high-definition video output, are also standard on the device.
However, the Ziio does not support cellular connections. So users will have to connect to a Wi-Fi network to surf and check email.
The Ziio will be available online from December and be sold in Creative stores by the end of January.
via Business Times
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