Creative announces tablets starting at $249

Creative's Ziio tablets are designed to work with the company's multimedia products

Creative's Ziio Pure Wireless Entertainment 7-inch tablet

Creative's Ziio Pure Wireless Entertainment 7-inch tablet

Creative Labs on Tuesday announced entry-level media tablets with 7-inch and 10-inch touchscreens, with prices ranging from US$249 to $319.

The Ziio Pure Wireless Entertainment tablets come with Google's Android 2.1 OS and storage ranging from 8GB to 16GB. Some models are priced lower than Archos' 101 Internet Tablet and Velocity Micro's Cruz tablet, which are priced at $299.

The tablets will start shipping in early December, Creative said.

The Ziio tablet will join a highly competitive market led by Apple's iPad, which shipped in April. Samsung has already started selling its Galaxy Tab in some countries, and Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard and Dell have announced plans to launch tablets. Research firm Gartner is pegging tablet shipments to reach 54.8 million units next year.

Creative is primarily known for its portable media players, speakers and headsets, and has built the tablet to its strengths. The company says the tablet is able to sync with its audio products via Bluetooth to play music. The device includes an audio application and an Apt-X codec to achieve quality audio streaming and playback.

Beyond music, users will be able to check e-mail, surf the Web or play casual games, Creative said. Applications are offered through the company's ZiiStore.

The tablet is powered by the homegrown ZMS-08 processor, which is based on a 1GHz Arm processor and can play 1080p video. The device comes with an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port to play video from the tablet on high-definition TVs. It also comes with a MicroSD card slot for additional storage.

The device comes with a front-facing camera and has Wi-Fi capabilities. The company says the device can play back up to five hours of video on a single battery charge.

The 7-inch tablet weighs 400 grams (0.88 pounds), while the 10-inch tablet weighs 650 grams.

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