Jul 28th, 2009


The main downfall of this phone could be the name – it sounds like something a French guy would say on Easter Sunday. But joking aside, Zii EGG is a pretty big story that shows how Android is and will allow smaller innovative companies (Zii Labs) to breakthrough the barriers to entry in the mobile market and provide consumers with compelling options. The company behind Zii EGG has announced their Zii Plaszma program which will allow their handsets to leverage Android.

The bottom line for us is an iPhone/iPod Touch like device with the following specs:

  • 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
  • FCC and CE certification
  • Supports Linux-based Plaszma OS and Android
  • 115 x 62 x 12 mm
  • Light weight: 108grams

Those are some pretty good specs and the phone itself is pretty sexy looking.



Will it operate well? That’s another question… but the really interesting thing here is how ZiiLabs is positioning the Zii EGG: as a phone for manufacturers to purchase, rebrand and resell and also as a phone for developers to purchase if they would like.

The Zii EGG | Developer Edition, is a sleek, handheld development platform that enables Integrators, Developers and OEMs to create customized applications and devices supporting Linux-based Plaszma OS and Android development. The rich feature set of the energy efficient Zii EGG provides a powerful platform for creating compelling solutions that benefit from its advanced UI capabilities, multi-format audio and video processing, web browsing, OpenGL ES 3D graphics, content streaming and up to 1080p high-definition video output.

With a seemingly awesome product, why wouldn’t ZiiLabs just launch the Zii EGG themselves? Probably because making a mass market success is a lot harder than just building a pretty good phone. But will a manufacturer pick this up and then will a carrier run with it? Will any developers purchase this over the Android Dev Phone 1 or another device they can simply root?

It appears as if Zii is taking pre-orders of the EGG for $399… and bulk orders for the zero GB model are set to cost $199. Here is the Full Press Release:

ZiiLABS Announces Plaszma™ – An Open Standards Development Platform for Integrators and Developers to Create Customized Applications and Devices
The Zii Plaszma Platform Includes the Zii EGG Handheld StemCell Computer that Supports the Plaszma OS or Android™ OS

Singapore – July. 28, 2009 ZiiLABS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd. today announced the launch of Plaszma – an open standards development platform. The Zii Plaszma Platform includes the Zii EGG StemCell Computer, Plaszma OS and Plaszma SDK.

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 has 24 floating-point processors that deliver up to 8 GFLOPS of raw processing power and its flexible StemCell computing architecture allows stunning 3D graphics on a small handheld battery-powered device.

“This feature-packed Zii EGG comes with a take-no-prisoner price from as low as US$199,” said Sim Wong Hoo, Chairman and CEO of Creative Technology. “This signifies an integral part of our new strategy moving forward to engage every party in a win-win-win partnership”.

Zii EGG provides the essential building block that empowers developers, system integrators, OEMs and ODMs to efficiently and economically develop compelling media-rich devices. They can rapidly bring to market an extensive range of devices and applications, even under their own brand.

“Zii StemCell Computing Technology and the Zii Plaszma Platform are the direct results of our $1 billion investment including 10,000 man years of R&D effort in developing platform and chip solutions. We’re excited to offer the Zii Plaszma Platform to enterprising individuals, developers and companies so they can innovate and profit by designing Plaszma-based handheld solutions,” said Hock Leow, President of ZiiLABS.

“We’ve worked diligently on the design, from the chip and board, to OS integration and CODEC support, all the way to device design, mechanical tooling, and standards compliance to ensure that innovators are freed from the complexities of hardware and software development. With all of these steps taken care of, innovators can bring Zii Plaszma-based products ‘quick-and-cheap’ to market. If you’re looking to develop and market an energy efficient device that supports High Definition video and audio and 3D graphics, the Zii Plaszma Platform delivers.”

The Zii Plaszma Platform

Zii Plaszma is a complete portfolio of hardware platforms and software solutions based around the ZiiLABS ZMS processors that deliver the essential building blocks required for the rapid creation and deployment of next generation media-rich devices. Plaszma includes:

* Zii EGG StemCell Computer, and the recently announced ZMS-05 System Module
* Plaszma OS, Plaszma SDK and Zii Optimised Android

Zii EGG StemCell Computer

The Zii EGG is a sleek, energy efficient handheld Wi-Fi platform that offers a 10-point multi-gesture touch screen display, hardware GPS receiver, forward and rear facing cameras, Bluetooth®, HD video output connections, a full size High Capacity SD (SDHC) card slot, 256MB RAM, up to 64GB of Flash Memory (up to 32GB of internal memory and up to 32GB of external memory). This rich feature set provides a powerful platform for creating compelling solutions that benefit from advanced UI capabilities, multi-format audio and video playback and recording, web browsing, OpenGL® ES 3D graphics, content streaming and up to 1080p HD video output.

The rich feature set of the Zii EGG open up exciting possibilities for developers to create compelling customized application, for example;
1080p HD Output

The Zii EGG is the first handheld device that can support high definition H.264 video and image output at up to 1080p, enabling, for example, the instant implementation of a network of Wi-Fi enabled HD TV digital signboards.

The powerful 3D OpenGL ES capabilities of the underlying ZMS-05 processor enable developers to create compelling 3D games and applications that take full advantage of the 42 million textured pixels/sec fill rate.
HD and VGA Dual Cameras

The forward facing VGA camera and rear facing HD camera enable developers to easily customize the Zii EGG into a pocket-sized high definition photo, movie capture and video conferencing device.
SDHC Card Slot

The High Capacity SD (SDHC) card slot provides the removable external storage capacity of up to 32GB which can hold up to 100 digital movies, or 30 DVD-quality movies, or 10 HD movies. Combined with the internal memory capacity of up to 32GB, the Zii EGG can become a 64GB battery-powered handheld media hub that can hold up to 200 movies, or 5,000 karaoke/MTV videos.

This flexible combination of external and internal flash storage capacity allows VARs (value-added-resellers) and OEMs to customize and cost-optimize their Zii end product to a variety of storage capacities, namely 0GB, 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 4GB, 5GB, 6GB, 8GB, 9GB, 10GB, 12GB, 16GB, 17GB, 18GB, 20GB, 24GB, 32GB, 33GB, 34GB, 36GB, 40GB, 48GB and 64GB.
10-Point Multi-Gesture Touch Screen

The Zii EGG features a 10-point multi-gesture touch screen that allows developers to offer a customized device with a compelling widget-based user interface. This enables developers to create applications such as a virtual piano where you can actually play chords with onscreen keys. Users can even enjoy customized gesture commands.
Hardware GPS Receiver

The Zii EGG has a dedicated hardware GPS (Global Positioning System) chip that allows it to receive signals directly from satellites anywhere in the world. The Zii EGG’s hardware GPS receiver lets developers create advanced location-based applications, and enhanced 3D Navigation systems that benefit from the location accuracy, coverage and responsiveness that only hardware GPS can deliver.
Text-to-speech Feature

The Text-to-speech feature combined with the HD camera on the Zii EGG opens up a whole new field of exciting application possibilities. Coupled with OCR technologies, it allows the capturing and reading back of text to help the visually impaired or for educational applications such as audio eBooks.
Zii EGG Features and Specifications

* Capacitive 10-point multi-gesture touch display
* 3.5″ 320×480 true-colour display
* X-Fi audio processing
* Up to 32GB Internal Flash Storage
* 32MB NOR Flash (Linux Kernel Boot ROM)
* 256MB Mobile DDR RAM
* Supports 720p and 1080p HDTVs via HD cable
* Composite video out
* Dual cameras for high definition photos and movie capture
o – Forward facing VGA camera
o – Rear Facing HD camera
* Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
* Hardware GPS receiver
* Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
* Accelerometer
* Ambient light sensor
* SDHC slot (supports up to 32GB of external SDHC Card)
* USB 2.0 Mini-B (MTP and Charging)
* Universal Docking connector (USB, Audio)
* Headphone socket, built-in speaker and microphone
* Supports Plaszma™ OS and Zii Optimised Android™
* Light weight: 108g

Plaszma OS

The Plaszma OS is a robust, fully featured multi-tasking Operating System built upon a Linux 2.6 kernel that enables the creation of native and web based applications that are significantly enhanced by the 3D, advanced media and communication capabilities of the ZMS processor and Zii Plaszma Platform.

The Plaszma OS supports a rich set of industry standard APIs that have been optimized by ZiiLABS, with a wide range of multimedia CODECs, powerful video, image and audio playback and recording capabilities and advanced audio processing including a text-to-speech engine. The Plaszma OS also supports a desktop grade Opera® 9.7 browser with Web 2.0 capabilities, 2D graphics, and OpenGL ES 3D graphics, plus a powerful intuitive gesture-based user interface.
Plaszma SDK

The Plaszma SDK is a software development kit that provides all the developer tools, libraries, documentation and sample CODECs needed to create the next-generation of media-rich networked applications.
Plaszma SDK Features and Specifications

* Native C/C++ Development
* Wide range of supported video, image and audio formats
* Cell Framework of industry standard API’s and Libraries
* Advanced 2D and vector graphics, compositing and blending
* OpenGL ES 3D graphics
* HD media playback and record framework
* State-of-the-art multi-touch, gesture based user interface
* Opera® 9.7 Web browser supporting CSS, XHTML, JavaScript and Ajax
* Adobe® Flash Lite™ 3.1 (available later)
* Internationalization and localization of applications
* Integrated Database
* Network Services and Event management
* Sensor handling, (accelerometer, GPS, ambient light)

A range of market-ready applications such as a music and video player, photo browser, and web browser will be included with the handheld Zii EGG StemCell Computer. Future upgrades to the application suite that will take advantage of the built-in hardware will be made available.
Zii Optimized Android

Zii Optimized Android gives developers the chance to use the familiar Android OS, but with a difference. Harnessing StemCell Computing Technology found on the ZMS-05 Media Rich Processor, Android is now super-charged with seamless 3D graphics and High Definition video playback performance.
Pricing and Availability

A Plaszma SDK Starter Kit is available for immediate purchase at US$399 on www.zii.com. This Starter Kit comes bundled comes with Plaszma OS, Plaszma SDK and the Zii Optimised Android OS.

As an introductory offer, ZiiLABS is offering a 32GB Zii EGG for FREE with the purchase of the Plaszma SDK Starter Kit, limited to one per customer while stocks last.

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.
Value-Added-Resellers Bulk Purchase Price

Bulk purchase price of Zii EGG (0 GB) starts from as low as US$199 in volume quantities.

By offering VARs, developers and companies the lowest possible price of US$199 for Zii EGG (0 GB), ZiiLABS provides developers the freedom to create complete hardware and software solutions specific to their customers’ requirements as they can use external SD storage. Alternatively, developers can custom order different internal storage capacities of up to 32GB.

Does ZiiLabs have something big with the Zii EGG or will their choice to push through B2B channels hinder their goals?

[Thanks John!]

local_offer    Other  

stars Further Reading