Zii Egg Could Give the iPhone and iPod touch Some Real Competition

36 Comments

It’s the world’s first handheld StemCell Computer. It sports 1080p HD output, X-Fi Audio processing, a ten-point multi-gesture capacitive touchscreen, text-to-speech engine and expandable SDHC memory. It’s got lots more, too.

And it’s running Android.

zii_egg

In short, it’s a mobile device that beats the pants off the iPod touch — in hard, cold specs, at the very least. The Egg is built using the new wave of multimedia hardware and software from ZiiLABS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology. Here’s the blurb from the official website.

“The Zii EGG is an energy efficient handheld StemCell Computer based on the powerful ZiiLABS ZMS-05 media-rich applications processor. Besides its multi-touch 3.5-inch LCD screen, it can also output HD video at up to 1080p. The ZMS-05’s 24 floating-point processors deliver up to 8 GFLOPS of raw processing power, while the StemCell Computing’s flexible architecture allows stunning display of 3D graphics on a small handheld battery powered device.”

Although the Egg isn’t a mobile phone, it soon could be. ZiiLABS is allowing third parties to develop for and re-brand the device. The only thing stopping this from being a mobile phone is a cellular transceiver, and they’re not so hard to find. And because it already runs Google’s (s goog) Android operating system, it won’t take a lot of software jiggery-pokery to get the thing making calls.

Even without cellphone functionality, the current specs of the Zii Egg put the iPod touch to shame. And with the Zii Plaszma and Android platforms as a foundation (both of which are open-source and free, therefore very attractive to OEM’s in today’s economic climate) the Egg promises real future innovation and creativity in a market that has, since 2007, only been playing catch-up with Apple (s aapl). Using the Egg, Apple’s competitors might get their 15 minutes of fame. Remember, this is a first-generation release that already boasts more bells and whistles than any of the top devices already available on the market. OEM’s have a great starting-point, and they didn’t have to do any of that pesky, expensive R&D work to get to it.

Although you can’t buy it in the shops, it is available to developers and OEM’s as part of a pre-order kit for a paltry $399. For a device that truly comes close to the iPhone in size, style, function and development promise, this may be the first to truly deserve the title “iPhone Killer.”

36 Comments

Jeff

Well, some people are only looking at this device as an Ipod touch killer. If you really research the product and the technology behind it you will discover that it is so much more powerful, faster, and energy efficient than my desktop let alone an ipod. Computing power is key. If a device doesn’t have a good chipset you’re limited. The egg is borderline personal computer and handheld media device. I can’t wait for it to show up on the retail market. I don’t care for a phone in it. I don’t want to pay for a overpriced data plan that every carrier charges. I want to be able to use it with wi-fi and have basically infinite storage because all I have to do is switch the card. People use the ipod touch as a toy. This device seems more like a tool and a toy.

batteryxia

It will never gain a foothold. Apple may have made mistakes and does do so still and will in the future but they are here to stay. For the foreseeable future Apple will, by good timing first of all,laptop battery and good UI and overall design ,and with unprecedented popular and media backing, be the king to dethrone. I for one am no fanboy of Apple but warts and all the iphone is one hell of a device I enjoy and I look forward to its future. All other contenders should be appreciated but they are too late to the dance.

batteryxia

do you have any idea how many of creative’s patents apple has infringed on? You know apple’s lovely UI on the iPod classic? Creative sued for that and won. The voice thingy on the shuffle is a creative patent…laptop battery I could keep going but I won’t. Creative innovates, they don’t copy. One more thing… how is a touch screen pmp supposed to look any different really? If you can come up with a design that makes sense then you should get a job as an engineer for some company that makes electronics. All the itouch/phone design is (besides ui) is a touch screen,

Lacene

If some 3rd-party company takes this device up and sells it under their own brand, I could see this being presented as legitimate competition to the Touch. If Creative markets it themselves, I have my doubts. Creative already came out with the Zen Vision:M, a MP3 device that was ahead of it’s time in video codec support, video capabilities and UI back in early ’06, and Creative basically sat on it with little to no marketing, and never really followed up on it with updates. It became essentially a one-hit wonder. Most fans of Creative DAPs still say today that the ZVM was Creative’s last big hurrah. Perhaps Creative has learned a lesson with the ZVM, but I’m skeptical…..

Comic Book Guy

I don’t see how it could give the iPhone competition, because it doesn’t have a phone. And, really, this is Creative we’re talking about, they haven’t been competition to any PMP in a long time.

Bob

Oh how the mighty will fall. You know, back in the day apple was ahead of the game with computers. Their problem was they did not open their stuff up to 3rd parties..thus they now control about 2% of the personal computer market. The same thing is happening now. Michial was right..they are ahead of the game now with the ipod and iphone but if they don’t open it up to 3rd parties then their hold on the portable music player market will eventually diminish the same as their computer market did.

Just my 2 cents

MichiaL

Yes you aare right the competition will continue to spur apple to improve and not rest on it’s laurels. Sounds great to me. Cheers!

MichiaL

You obviously enjoy taking posts out of context or just not paying attention to them. I did not say competition was bad or other companies could not show up to the discussion. My point was apple has laid anextremely popular acceptance of it’s product that all mp3s or pmps etc are called iPods etc and no matter how good the product is it will not undue the marketshare apple has.

Thought

“too late to the dance”? What are you talking about Michial?

So, in your world companies like Google shouldn’t make Chrome OS because they are late to some retarded dance you keep talking about?

No.

Competition will always be a threat for Apple, and if anything, you should be happy that competition exists and keeps Apple on its toes and their prices going down, not up.

Michial

Great specs. Bad timing. Sure a minority of wealthy techies may go for it and rightly appreciate its finer aspects but it’s too late Iam afraid to be appreciated(if it all pans out in reality). Apple has won the mass media and marketshare. Mp3 players are synonymous with “ipod” and “iphone” itouch is even gaining popular vernacular and recognition. I am afraid the zune HDs and creatives of this world(for all their inherent worth) are too late to the dance. It’s like Microsoft thinking they can compete with the Nintendo DS. It will never gain a foothold. Apple may have made mistakes and does do so still and will in the future but they are here to stay. For the foreseeable future Apple will, by good timing first of all, and good UI and overall design ,and with unprecedented popular and media backing, be the king to dethrone. I for one am no fanboy of Apple but warts and all the iphone is one hell of a device I enjoy and I look forward to its future. All other contenders should be appreciated but they are too late to the dance.

Basil

Well, the Creative Zii is a new processor and platform for that matter, if it is actually that good, why not have the coming iPods and iPhones use this new platform. Apparently it should give improved battery life, which we can use in the iPhone.

Izzy

Here we go again with the better than/iPhone killer superlatives.
I wouldn’t say this kicks iPhone/iPod touch’s a$$. Yeah it’s def. Up there in terms of features and offers a bit more on some areas, but that’s what’s suppose to happen when something new comes out isn’t it?

So, yeah it seems like a true competitor but that it’s an iPod killer or destroyer is just going too far, let’s not get stupid here writer. This is why no one respects bloggers.

Vern

according to http://www.zii.com/Developer/Landing.aspx the egg can support high-def output of up to 1080p to hdtv. this looks more like a mini pc on a media player with all the nice add-on like camera, gps.. this will def pleased the developers (seems to be the first time creative releases a sdk for its product). think it will not be long before we see a working one.

Mathew

not impressed. what makes apple products so wonderful is the FULL experience plus the sexy design. that’s what most companies who try imitate don’t get. It’s not just high powered specs. it’s about the entire experience from the easy to use design, iTunes, the App Store, compatibility with the full line of Mac products. it’s not the next iPhone couldn’t have HD quality video or what have you. not impressed.

Tommy

Actually, do you have any idea how many of creative’s patents apple has infringed on? You know apple’s lovely UI on the iPod classic? Creative sued for that and won. The voice thingy on the shuffle is a creative patent… I could keep going but I won’t. Creative innovates, they don’t copy. One more thing… how is a touch screen pmp supposed to look any different really? If you can come up with a design that makes sense then you should get a job as an engineer for some company that makes electronics. All the itouch/phone design is (besides ui) is a touch screen, a few buttons, and a black reflective surface… not that original. Oh, iTouch doesn’t have 2 cameras, an 1080HD camera, ambient light sensors, built in GPS or Xfi, and it can’t output any HD to your tv… so how exactly did they copy apple other than the fact that there is a touch screen and a button on the front?

Dan

So, what’s the desktop app like?

Can it compare to iTunes?

Is there access to HD content?

So many manufacturers think that all they have to do is create an iPod/iPhone killer, but they always forget that the desktop component is the key.

Also…

It sounds like that this company sat down and copied everything they could about the iPod touch….does the company hold any key patents? Or are they hoping Apple won’t notice that they’ve infringed the hell out of the player?

Me

Remember when apple infringed creative? you know creative has the rights to sell apple products because of it? you know the iPhone wasn’t actually made by apple? You know Steve Jobs hired Bill Gates to fix problems they were having with there OSs? You know there are tons of markets out there cheaper and better (less DRM) than iTunes? you know the Zii will be able to work directly with windows so that you dont have to download a piece of shit resource hog player like iTunes? did you know that bigger touchscreen players have been the future for every PMP producing company? and sorry, apple was not the first for this type of design. Now-days all PMPs are touchscreen not because “Its cool” but because it gives more room for videos and pictures to be seen on the screen!

PoBoy

Wake me when an actual device is released for an actual price, not a set of specs and an OEM supply price.

Stephen

ryemac3 is right it is all about the App Store, except Apple has put itself in front of the oncoming freight train with its constant rejections and removal of apps that’s only crime is that it challenges Apple or AT&T. This while we see Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android and Nokia running the very same app on the very same network!

I think you will certainly see robust app stores for all the mobile devices.

Soon Apple will have to either open up the iPhone to third party developers directly or have sensible rules that does not block innovation OR die!

ryemac3

It’s not about specs anymore. It’s not a bout the iPhone or the touch either. It’s all about the App Store. And that’s the way Apple likes it. Anyone can come out with any cool new device with a million and one cool new features, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the fact that the killer app here is the App Store. No App Store, no iPhone/touch killer.

Me

there will be a bigger FREE application setup out there. It will already have android apps PLUS whatever ANYONE wants to build with plaszma NO RESTRICTIONS as opposed to apple who keeps on banning apps such as Google voice. not to mention this will have wireless portable video conference capabilities. Did I mention that anyone can build any app or game and that it wont be stopped by through apple’s fat, greedy, DRM loving fingers?

Chris

I’m pretty much ready to jump ship after Apple/AT&T blocked Google Voice. I read Verizon will have some Android goodness soon and that may very well be my departure point.

Love my iPhone as a device but I don’t care for the heavy hand of Apple and AT&T.

Mathew

Verizon will have an Android device but will be made by Motorola…does anyone really want a Motorola phone anymore?

Dennis

Yea, I am pretty pissed off with ATT. When they were Cingular, they were great. Then they did the whole ATT mix-up/merger. Worst thing they could have done.

If they would have left it as it were, and Cingular was a subsidiary…they could have KEPT all those towers, providing better service and then upgrading all of them and they’d have been even better (signal wise)

As far as the ‘heavy hand’ as some have put it, is right on the money – crippling things right out of the gate, stalling on several fronts..is all UNEXCUSABLE.

I know for a fact though, Verizon cripples all of their devices too – they want you to pay for every little thing. I don’t think (at least any company I’ve experienced) EVER let the users have what they wanted as part of an unlimited bundle (e.g. tethering, um, what part of ‘unlimited data’ does ATT NOT understand?)

Ming

Same! I am also leaving Apple + AT&T. Apple cannot control what I can get and what I can’t on my iphone.

Mathew

a little premature…it hasnt even hit the store…nor do we know if it even works or what kind of bugs it will have

Khürt Williams

I don’t know anyone who pays over $200 for an iPod Touch because of the specs. They buy it because they can watch video (movies and televison), play music, games, follow friends on facebook and twitter, check email, buy stuff on Amazon or eBay, lookup a restaurant and reserve a seat, etc.

What does the Zii EGG do?

Adam

@ Khürt Williams: It does/can do everything you just listed…are you reading articles before you comment? It’s like an open source iPod Touch, with better specs and removable storage.

momo

itouch has the best user interface that works seamlessly
many companies have tried and failed even with better
hardware and more advanced technology….doh!

creative will fail- trust me

Cutter

uhhh its Running on Android a google made operating system that should run pretty smooth as it has been around for a while by now.

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