Android is a venerable Operating System, whether you prefer to use it or not, and it's popping up on all sorts of peripherals. One of the good ones coming down the pipe line, is Creative's Zii Egg. We're still excited about this thing, even if there isn't even the faintest of words about an official, consumer-based release for the device yet. But, if you're a developer, then you can start to get excited, because Creative is starting to release its first shipment.
We're indecently curious about Creative's imminent Zii EGG developer design, what with its iPhone-like looks, 10-point multitouch display and potent ZMD 05 "Plaszma" module, so it's interesting to see the first of the hands-on reports from over in Asia. HardwareZone and CNET both stopped by the Creative offices to take a look.
Creative have announced their Zii EGG developer platform, the test hardware for coders to get to grips with their freshly "Plaszma" branded Stemcell Computing system. The Zii EGG runs Google's Android OS on top of Creative's ZMS-05 chipset, and promises not only WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and a 3.5-inch 320 x 480 10-point multitouch display, but 1080p video output, HD playback and OpenGL ES support.
Video demo after the cut
Creative have been showing off some of their new Zii EGG developer device's 3D gaming skills, with a video of the iPod touch-like handheld running a 3D OpenGL ES enhanced racing game complete with accelerometer control. The company has also released a more technical video about their StemCell Computing platform, demonstrating some of the abilities of the ZMS 05 System Module at the Zii EGG's core.
Video demo after the cut
Creative have been talking up their Zii platform for quite some time now - the HD-capable system first showed up at CES 2009, and then more recently sprouted a smartphone reference design in December last year - but beyond the initial developer device there's little to show from the whole project. Over at epiZENter, however, they've spotted what could be some movement: the Creative site has gained a few new peripherals, including a development kit supporting 3G modules, and an insider has tipped Android customization for Zii as being on track for a March 2010 completion.
ZiiLABS' TRINITY is designed to draw the attention of smartphone lovers to the ZMS-05 platform, just like its ZiiEGG predecessor did for PMPs, and it seems to be doing a pretty good job. Crave Asia grabbed some hands-on time with the smartphone - which is capable of 1080p HD video playback, has a 3.1-inch 800 x 480 OLED capacitive touchscreen and triband WCDMA/HSDPA connectivity - and came away reasonably impressed.
Video hands-on after the cut
Looking for a guaranteed way to confuse press and customers alike, and dilute your new brand? Creative have a good example: they've called their latest iPod speaker dock the ZiiSound, which you'd expect to thus include some of the clever ZiiLABS "StemCell Computing" magic they've been discussing this week. Instead it's a bog-standard speaker dock, with nary a whiff of a Zii processor.
ZiiLABS' ZMS-08 chipset was certainly enough to get us interested last week - the promise of a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, Blu-ray quality video playback and parent company Creative's X-Fi audio tech will do that to a geek - and now they've gone and got us hot under the collar with the promise of an Android smartphone. Set to be demonstrated at the Zii Summit 2009, to be held in China on December 1st, the device is described as a Zii Optimized Android Phone platform, albeit based on the (still pretty impressive) ZMS-05 chipset.