A Holiday Gift Idea from Voxeo

I’ve been exploring less expensive Android gadgetry lately in my search for a capable but not overly glitzy e-book reader. My experience with Velocity Micro’s Cruz Reader, which I have previously documented, was not a positive one. I’ve now turned my attention to a Rockchip-powered Android tablet from Yixin, a Chinese electronics and toy manufacturer. I’m hoping to have one in my possession shortly.

The gadget gift giving season is upon us. And no doubt in the coming weeks many Android tablets will be wrapped up and adorned with ribbons and bows. But are there other creative ideas out there, possibly free, that could put a smile on a young child’s face?

I don’t normally turn to Voxeo in these matters, but I came across a neat suggestion in their blog for turning their Tropo multi-media development environment into a joy machine.Continue reading

Technoverse Blog to Cruz Reader: Basta!

Trying to find a WiFi signal

I am back from my Italian adventure, enjoying every minute of walking down narrow Roman alleys, biking past Umbrian fields, and eating and drinking the riches of the campagna. I was undecided about bringing along the 7” Cruz Reader until the very last minute when my instinctual urges to check for emails won out.  I had a fully charged tablet when I left the US.

When I arrived at the hotel in Rome, Velocity Micro’s tablet didn’t have enough oomph to power on.  I began to notice a pattern. I would charge the slab for a few hours, use it for a bit, then go out and have my vacation. The next morning I would discover that the Reader had an uncanny ability to leak its charge overnight.  As they say in Italian: basta! (enough).Continue reading

Cruz Reader:Tablet Lite

I was hoping to enter the Android-age this week courtesy of Velocity Micro’s $199 Cruz Reader. The Reader arrived yesterday on my porch sometime during a late afternoon editorial meeting. I excitedly opened up the UPS cardboard to be teased by the words “Unlimited Possibilities” printed on the Cruz’s product packaging.

I haven’t purchased that much gadgetry in recent years, but I do recall that my cell phone  came with a fairly thick operating manual. The Cruz Reader takes a more minimalist approach, providing you with a single-page folded booklet. I couldn’t find much more on-line, so I assumed this is a completely intuitive device that will guide my fingers in doing the work.

After booting up and then adjusting the touch calibration setting, I found that I couldn’t get the Cruz Reader to respond. I thought I had paper-weighted this thing. My fingers told me to reboot this mini-tablet by pressing the silvery on-off button on the side. I learned later that I was actually just putting it into a kind of sleep mode.Continue reading

Hey, $199 Cruz Reader Ships in September

This is the summer of the Android tablet. With all the gadget sites tracking products from Archos, Sony, Asus, et al., I thought I’d remind you of  an inexpensive ($199) Android 2.0  color e-book reader that is also a media player and has a browser.   Velocity Micro is now taking orders for their Cruz Reader 7″ tablet, which it plans to ship in early September.  I just plunked down my money.  Continue reading

Get Ready for the Cruz Reader

First sighted back in April, the Cruz Reader from custom PC maker Velocity Micro is an inexpensive (under $200 MSRP) 7″ color Android-based ebook reader —browser included. It really is more than a book gadget, supporting full screen video (MP4), music (built-in headphone jack), and games. Velocity will also sell a sibling 7″ Cruz tablet.

Both are scheduled to ship next month. This may be the Android gadget I end up buying.

More specs below.Continue reading