The tablet wars of 2011 were waged on two fronts. You had the well-funded heavyweights assaulting the iPad with equally ambitious and expensive creations. At the same time, you had budget-minded manufacturers trying desperately to create a viable, cheap tablet alternative.
The Velocity Micro Cruz T410 is the result of the latter war front. In 2011, Velocity Micro launched no fewer than six low-priced tablets, running the gamut from $119 resistive-screen clunkers like the Cruz R100, all the way up to the $299, 10-inch Cruz T410.
Whether marketed as e-book reader or Android tablet, the recipe for any of these Velocity Micro Cruz tablets can be boiled down to inexpensive hardware matched with a heavily customized version of Android software devoid of the official Google niceties, such as the Android Market, Gmail, and Google Books, Maps, and Navigation.
To fill the software gap, Velocity Micro preinstalls an alternative application storefront (in this case Amazon Appstore for Android) and a handful of games and other apps, such as Angry Birds, Amazon Kindle, and Quickoffice. It's a bit of a kludge, requiring multiple account configurations instead of the one-stop sign-in of a Kindle Fire, iPad, or full-fledged Android tablet. The end result, though, is a device with more customization options and hardware features than low-cost competitors, at a substantially lower price than a high-end tablet.