iPod touch killer from Creative: the Zii EGG

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Laugh if you will – the creator of the NOMAD hasn’t been competitive in the marketplace in the last handful of years, but this year may mark a turnaround for the beleaguered company. The Zii EGG represents the first significant engineering push which Creative have taken since their glory days around the turn of the millenium. On paper, the new player is an iPod touch killer, however, unlike other iPod touch killers, Creative haven’t betted the farm on hardware alone.

Their platform is based on Google’s Android – a platform which is destined to give the iDevice a run for its money. Creative cannot write software, standing on Google’s back, they may be be given a second chance at influencing the portable market.

The new platform dubbed, StemCell, is composed of three parts: Plaszma (Android-based open source OS), the ZMS-05 Media Rich Application Processor and the ZMS-05 System Module. Plaszma allows developers familiar with Android to create apps which utilise the operating system. It differs however, in that its central focus is on multimedia: 3D and Hi definition.

The Zii EGG will be able to spit out Hi-Def video to a TV (like the iPhone 3GS) via a HDMI cable implementation, making the platform which holds up to 32GB of data, a good TV replacement. Adding to its ‘killer’ features, the Zii EGG will boast 2 cameras: one HD and the other VGA.

Specifications
ZMS-05 Media Rich Application Processor

  • Dual ARM processor cores
  • High resolution – decode to 1080p/720p encode
  • 1080p HDMI output
  • Supports wide range of codecs e.g H.264, MPEG 1/2/4, WMV/VC-1
  • Powerful floating-point 3D graphics
  • Supports OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0
  • High quality audio encode and decode
  • High Quality Imaging Processing
  • Low power architecture
  • Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling
  • Multiple clock domains and clock gating
  • 16 independent power down regions
  • Suspend to RAM for standby
  • USB 2.0 OTG controller
  • Analog HD TV encoder
  • Three independent 12/24-bit video units
  • Three SDIO/MMC/CE-ATA controllers
  • Mobile SDR, DDR and DDR2
  • 64/32-bit data bus
  • 1Gbyte address space

ZMS-05 System Module

  • ZiiLABS ZMS-05 Media-Rich Application Processor
    • Flexible StemCell Media Processing Array
    • Dual ARM926-EJS Cores
  • 256MB 64-bit Mobile DDR Memory
  • 16MB NOR Flash (Linux Kernel Boot ROM)
  • Power Management Unit
  • High-Quality Audio DAC
  • 10/100 Ethernet Controller
  • USB 2.0 OTG Controller
  • Three SD/SDIO/MMC/CE-ATA controllers
  • JTAG Diagnostic Port
  • Analog Audio Port
  • Three high-performance video ports
    • Direct connection to LCD and Cameras
    • Integrated Analog HD TV Encoder
    • General Purpose Interface Bus
    • Connect to NAND Flash, IDE Disk Drivers
  • I2S, S/PDIF, I2C, GPIOs and Dual UARTs
  • Compact form factor 67.85mmx40mmx3.8mm
  • Industry standard 200-pin SODIMM connector
  • Support for Plaszma and Android Operating Systems

Visit Creative’s Zii webpage to learn more about the platform and about StemCell computing.

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