Jul 29 AT 2:23 PM Taylor Wimberly 8 Comments

Creative Labs lays an Android EGG

ZiiLABS announced Tuesday they were launching Plaszma, their new open standards development platform.  At the heart of the news was the Zii EGG StemCell Computer, a new device capable of running Android.  The press release was filled with marketing fluff and hard to follow, but I have attempted to break down the top points and what this means for Android.

Zii EGG has impressive specs.

A quick overview of the technical specifications reveals many exciting features not yet found on any Android device.  The unit contains rear and forward facing cameras to allow video conferencing.  A full sized SDHC slot if offered to allow high speed and large capacity storage.  HD movies can be stored on the device and output in full 1080p.  Overall, it appears to top any Android gadget that has been officially announced.

  • 3.5″ 320×480 true-color capacitive 10-point multi-touch display
  • X-Fi audio processing
  • Up to 32GB internal NAND Flash
  • 256MB RAM
  • HDTV support via HD Cable
  • Composite video In/Out
  • Forward facing VGA camera
  • Rear Facing HD camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Hardware GPS receiver with antenna
  • 3-axis Accelerometer
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Full size SDHC slot (supports up to 32GB of external SDHC Card)
  • USB 2.0 Mini-B (MTP and Charging)
  • Universal Docking connector (HDMI, USB, Audio Line-In/Line-Out, Composite-In/Out, UART)
  • Headphone socket, built in speaker and microphone
  • 1200mAH rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Supports Linux-based Plaszma OS and Android
  • 115 x 62 x 12 mm
  • Light weight: 108grams

Zii EGG is not a phone, yet.

ZiiLABS new device does not contain a cellular chipset, but one could be added.  The platform is being marketed towards system integrators and OEM’s who could easily rebrand the device as a phone.  Since ZiiEGG already supports the Android OS, it would not take much modification of the platform to add cell service.

Zii EGG is available for pre-order now, but you won’t see one for sale anytime soon.

Right now, developers can pre-order the Zii Plaszma Starter Kit for $399.  The Starter Kit comes bundled comes with Plaszma OS, Plaszma SDK and the Zii Optimised Android OS.  As a bonus offer, developers will also get a free 32 GB Zii EGG with the purchase of the Starter Kit.

It appears that the Zii EGG actually ships with the Plaszma OS, but Android can be loaded onto it.  “For customers who want to run the Android OS, an after-sales installer upgrade will be made available soon allowing them to change their operating system selection.”

Zii EGG could compete with the iPod Touch and Nintendo DSi

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Android platform is the current lack of advanced 3D support and games.  Zii EGG is promising accelerated 3D graphics, but we will have to wait and see.  Android desperately needs a flagship device centered on mobile gaming.

Powering the Zii EGG is the new ZMS-05 processor.  This is one of the first devices to feature the new processor so it is hard to estimate the performance.  The ZMS-05 is powered by a dual core ARM subsystem.  This is similar to the way the Nintendo DSi includes an ARM9 and ARM7 cpu, but the overall architecture is quite different.

Zii EGG is offered  to value added resellers for $199

Bulk purchase price of Zii EGG starts from as low as $199 in volume quantities.  The $199 configuration has 0 GB of internal storage but can be customized up to 32 GB.  This low base price will allow developers and companies to create some exciting hardware and software solutions.

The obligatory press video demonstrating the Zii EGG.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Dr.Jeckyl

    Like I said in my forum post, I’m excited to see something like this and will for sure keep my eye on this.

    One thing I do have concerns with is the lack of any media players worthy of a dedicated device to media. The default media player in Android seems like an afterthought and really could use some work. If it’s to compete with iPod/iPhone it has to step up it’s game in the media player app department.

    • http://yellowrex.com William Furr

      How about TuneWiki?

      • Dr.Jeckyl

        Although a nice app it really isn’t a game changer. The native app only really needs to be improved slightly to be acceptable as the focus of the device. I’ll explain a bit more tonight when I’m not at work.

  • http://yellowrex.com William Furr

    Looks a fantastic device. Like a iPod Touch but with far superior hardware. I think there’s a real niche for “smartphones” like these that aren’t really phones. Even better on an open platform like Android so you can run SIPDroid or similar without jailbreaking.

    The press release said absolutely nothing about GSM or CDMA radios as possibilities, but I suppose it could be added. The impression I got was that third-party resellers and integrators would work on the software and sell the device hardware as is with their own branding and software added on.

    I had a hard time telling how smoothly the device operated because my YouTube playback is jerky. :(

    Also, a 1200 mAh battery seems awfully small for that powerful of a device. The G1 is way less powerful and has battery life issues with its stock 1100 mAh battery. I’ve been eyeing the Seido 2300 mAh replacement battery for running MyTracks on long cycling and hiking trips.

    Hopefully we’ll see a real Android phone with this kind of capability soon.

  • byf079

    This what u cold call a futre fone. i love the front camera

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