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R7: Cowon, what were you thinking?

cowon r7 R7: Cowon, what were you thinking?

Cowon Korea just announced the R7, a “Full HD Super PMP”, which is more of a 7″ tablet without connectivity. At 800×480 pixel it sports quite low resolution for that screen size, but – as far as I can interpret the Korean specs sheet – it should have excellent battery life: 65 hours for audio, 10 for video. As is usually the case with Cowon, the R7 supports every audio and video format known to man (including MKV, TS, 3GP, APE, Musepack, Wavpack, True Audio), and of course 1080p playback as well. Judging by the specs, it seems this one doesn’t support BBE sound enhancements for videos, only for audio – like the V5 and O2 before it. It comes in respectable sizes up to 64GB, sports a MicroSDHC slot, and an HDMI output.

Here’s the real zinger, however: it runs on Windows CE 6.0. This is not a joke. While the rest of the planet strives to implement WP 7 Mango (as far as Microsoft’s mobile OS goes), Android, or iOS, Cowon took a step back to the good old days of CE 6, as already found in their rather underwhelming V5 PMP of last year. Actually, the R7 is just a V5 with a bigger screen (at the same resolution).

It is even more bewildering, considering Cowon already have an Android device on the market with the D3, offering a more modern,  more widely used, and arguably better operating system than on the R7. I definitely would have expected them to release an Android tablet, not a WinCE one. Then again, the R7 has no Wi-Fi connectivity, so it might not matter after all. Either way, consider me once again baffled about Cowon’s decisions. Once again it seems like the advancements in portable device design seen in the last few years went past Cowon.

[Cowon Korea product page via iAudiophile]