Low-priced tablet computing: Cruz Reader, Tablet and StoryPad

An outfit here in Virginia called Velocity Micro has announced a series of Android-based tablets under the collective name of Cruz. The line includes the Cruz Reader with a 3:4 ratio display intended primarily for reading eBooks; the Cruz Tablet is a widescreen 16:9 model with capacitive multi-touch display and more horsepower; and the Cruz StoryPad, similar to the Reader but with a kid-friendly design and color options.


Velocity Micro® Announces a Family of Android™ based color E-readers and Tablets

Cruz line launches with 7″ color Cruz Reader™, 16:9 Cruz Tablet™ and kid-friendly Cruz StoryPad™

Richmond, VA – July 13, 2010 – Velocity Micro, the premier builder of premium, high performance desktop computers, notebooks, and peripherals, announces the debut products from a captivating and affordable line-up of Android powered mobile devices. Taking e-readers light-years past e-ink, the Cruz Reader features a sleek design, touch screen display, and tons of multimedia features. The Cruz Tablet offers the same multimedia capabilities as the Cruz Reader with more storage and a multi-touch screen. Perfect for kids, the Cruz StoryPad offers a touch screen, interactive content, and intuitive interface. Best of all, the Cruz line starts at just $149.

“Since 1992, Velocity Micro has been dedicated to building remarkable consumer electronics,” said Randy Copeland, President and CEO of Velocity Micro. “With the development of the Cruz line, we were able to take those enthusiast sensibilities and package them for the mainstream consumer to create a product that’s not only amazing, but affordable as well.”

At under one pound and about a half inch thick, the $199, 7″ Cruz Reader goes everywhere you do, making it perfect for students, avid readers, frequent flyers, and techies. Additional features such as video playback and web browsing provide a much richer experience than traditional e-ink readers at a more reasonable price than a tablet.
Key specs and features include:
· Crystal clear 4:3 ratio, 800×600 full color touch screen display – ideal for viewing ebooks and magazines, plus web pages and movies
· Google Android Operating System
· 802.11b/g wifi and full Web browser support
· High res video and high quality audio playback with no proprietary content restrictions
· Built-in Dictionary, Notepad, Calendar, Alarm Clock, Contacts, Games, and other useful apps
· Built in accelerometer, tilt activated
· Enough built in storage for hundreds of books
· USB and SD card slot for upgradable storage, including a 2GB SD card
· Up to 10 hours of use and over 24 hours of standby time, with a replaceable battery
· Access to over 2 Million ebooks via included Borders E-book library portal application
· Access to the Cruz Market™, an open content portal for downloading apps, magazines, and videos from a broad array of content providers.

At $299, the Cruz Tablet offers a truly mobile experience at an affordable price, finally giving consumers an Android-based tablet alternative.
Spec and feature upgrades include:
· 7″ 16:9 ratio, 800×480 capacitive display – great for viewing widescreen video
· 802.11n wifi for faster wireless connectivity
· Integrated microphone for voice recording
· 4GB of built in storage with an 8GB SD card in the box for additional storage of high res photos, video, and music

Rounding out the Cruz line, the $149 Cruz StoryPad packs tons of multimedia features into a kid friendly, drop resistant package, letting children read, learn, and interact using a simple and intuitive touch interface. Features include:
· 7″ 4:3 800×600 full color touch screen display
· Simplistic and intuitive navigation
· High res video and high quality audio playback
· Preinstalled audio book content – reads classic stories as the child follows along
· SD card for additional storage
· Available in pink, blue, and green

The Cruz Reader and Cruz StoryPad will be available from most major retailers and direct from Velocity Micro in August with the Cruz Tablet following on September 1st. For more information or to sign up for e-newsletter updates, visit www.CruzReader.com.


Velocity Micro, Inc. is the premier high-performance personal computer provider in North America. Founded in 1992, Richmond, Va.-based Velocity Micro custom builds award winning gaming, mobile, multimedia, small business, workstation, visual supercomputers and peripherals. Velocity Micro products are currently available at most consumer electronics retailers nationwide. For more information, please call (800) 303-7866 or visit www.VelocityMicro.com.

Velocity Micro has earned over 60 industry awards, including 11 PC Magazine Editor’s Choice awards. CNET, Maximum PC, Mobile PC, PC World, Computer Gaming World, Computer Shopper, and PC Gamer editors have all chosen Velocity Micro systems as some of the industry’s best-performing, highest-quality, and most reliable PCs.

While not as dazzling as the iPad, the Cruz tablets have a considerable price advantage, and they’re aiming to carve out a good niche for themselves with the kid-friendly StoryPad. It’s good that they’ve partnered with Borders for book content, but having to use their own store for apps and other content is a hindrance. Vendors being forced to handle their own app stores for non-phone devices is a weak point of using Android. I think Google needs to put together some sort of sub-store system to let vendors pick and choose apps from the full Android Market that will work on their specialty devices.

Via Gizmodo and Engadget