This one is worth looking forward to.
Let's talk about 'budget' for a minute. We tend to apply that word to any product that lands a few price increments under the 'top of the line'. The iPad is a premium tablet, that crappy $99 K-Mart slate is a 'budget' tablet.
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But many budget products aren't worth the pittance they cost. Sure, that tablet may be 1/5th of the iPad's price, but if it is too slow to be practical or too buggy to get anything done, what is the point? For intelligent consumers, something only registers as a 'budget' buy if it is both inexpensive AND a solid product. Throwing money away on crappy knock-offs hardly counts as cost-conscious.
Earlier this month, Creative (who you may recognize from your sound card) unveiled two new tablets named the ZiiO. One has a 7" display and the other is a 10". Both have Android 2.1, Android Pure Audio, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, WiFi, HD output, an accelerometer and a microSD slot. Storage options include 8 GB and 16 GB.
So where's the downside? Those touchscreens are resistive. Which is how this thing manages to sell for roughly $322 (8 GB, 7"). Early reviews note that you will have to deal with some screen lag, especially when using your finger instead of the stylus. That said audio quality is really good and the design itself has been praised by quite a few reviewers.
Battery life is given as 5 hours of video or 25 hours of music playback, which is surprisingly nice. There's no 3G option, but WiFi is probably in better keeping with the 'budget' factor. Initially, the ZiiO was expected to launch only in Europe. However, Pocketables reports that this slate has just been spotted in white at the FCC.
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We've got no word on US pricing or when to expect a release, but we could conceivably see this thing launch before 2011. If this thing does see a pre-Christmas launch, expect to see it show up tucked into a quite a few cost-conscious geek stockings on December 26th.