Before the iPod Touch and the iPad, Creative Labs was a major player in the portable audio market. Today things have changed a bit, but Creative hopes to recapture lost ground with the new ZiiO line of "Pure Wireless Entertainment Tablets." Running Android 2.1 and utilizing Creative's in-house ZMS-08 processor, the tablets will come in 7 and 10-inch versions. Besides the usual features like email and web browsing, they deliver "the most seamless, fuss-free Bluetooth pairing experience" with external speakers and headphones (also included in the product line), as well as built-in Wi-Fi.
Where the tablets should really shine though is in audio quality. Capitalizing on Creative's base as a sound card manufacturer, the ZiiO will utilize proprietary technology previously used to enhance multimedia on its X-Fi line of Sound Blaster products. The X-Fi Crystalizer restores lost sound quality in digital formats, while the X-Fi Expander creates a greater depth of field for a more immersive experience, especially when using headphones. Also included is support for apt-X, a high-performance, low-latency audio codec designed to work well over Bluetooth connections.
Price will range between $359.00 and $459.00, depending on storage (either 8GB or 16GB) and which screen size is chosen. Also featured in the new product line is the ZEN Touch 2, the pocket-sized cousin of the ZiiO, which features the same Bluetooth connectivity and retails between $279.00 and $319.00.