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Creative looks to take on iPod touch in handheld computing realm

post #1 of 78
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The newly announced, Android-powered Creative Zii Egg aims to be to the G1 smartphone what the iPod touch is to the iPhone -- a powerful mobile computing platform without the monthly cell phone contract.

Revealed Tuesday, the multi-touch, candy bar-shaped device with a 3.5-inch LCD screen is advertised as being Android-ready and can handle up to 64GB of storage with a SDHC card. It also features GPS and Wi-Fi, can play 1080P video, supports Flash Lite, and has two cameras: an HD video camera on the back, and a VGA camera on the front for video chat.

Clearly envisioned as a competitor to the iPod touch, the device even looks similar to Apple's media player.

For now, the device is only available to developers who are willing to spend $399 on the Plaszma development kit. Creative hopes the platform will catch traction within the developer community, and that a final product will eventually come with a much lower price point.

"This feature-packed Zii Egg comes with a take-no-prisoners price from as low as U.S. $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."

The Plaszma platform uses Creative's "StemCell" technology, which uses the ZMS-05 processor. The chip, Creative says, can deliver HD video, as well as 2D and 3D graphics. The Zii Egg is capable of outputting 1080P video to a TV.

The Plaszma SDK will include Opera 9.7, Adobe Flash Lite, a multi-touch user interface, OpenGL ES 3D graphics and more.



As Apple's mobile computing platform across the iPhone and iPod touch continues to grow, the market for traditional iPods -- where Creative has attempted to compete with Apple in the past -- continues to shrink.

While the Zii Egg does feature some things not currently seen in the iPod touch, it is expected that Apple will unveil a new model with a camera this September.

Some analysts see the iPod touch as a low-key, stealthy asset in Apple's product lineup. But at least one estimate suggests the iPod touch carries at least one-third of the iPhone OS marketshare in the U.S.

During last week's earnings call, Apple revealed that there are 45 million iPhone and iPod touch devices in consumers' hands worldwide. Creative does not yet have a date when the Zii Egg could be available to consumers.
post #2 of 78
"Stem-cell technology"? My God, Apple is finished, for this thing runs on babies!
post #3 of 78
If they can come in at a very competitive price then apple will have to make the touch/iphone that much better!

We all win!
post #4 of 78
So developers are going to leave the iPod/iPhone platform in order to develop for this thing?

Riiight.

Looks really familiar, too.
post #5 of 78
google "epic fail". next year you'll find a picture of one of these wannabes...
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post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This feature-packed Zii Egg comes with a take-no-prisoners price from as low as U.S. $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."

Wow, a triple-win partnership. That is a lot of win you've got there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Plaszma platform uses Creative's "StemCell" technology, which uses the ZMS-05 processor. The chip, Creative Says, can deliver HD video, as well as 2D and 3D graphics. The Zii Egg is capable of outputting 1080P video to a TV.

The Plaszma SDK will include Opera 9.7, Adobe Flash Lite, a multi-touch user interface, OpenGL ES 3D graphics and more.

Quite a mouth full. Zii Egg? Is that pronounced zee, like Wii is pronounced wee? Great words guys. Plaszma paltform, StemCell technology, ZMS-05 processor, Zii Egg...

In all seriousness though, what's up with an Android device running an Opera browser? What happened to WebKit and Chrome? And in general, I do not understand how the open source community backing Android has continued to turn a blind eye to Google's support of proprietary runtimes like Flash Lite!
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post #7 of 78
Yeah...they LAID zii egg... Looks like they'll be yet another imitation...
post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

In all seriousness though, what's up with an Android device running an Opera browser?

It's Android. You can yank out Opera. And Flash.

Personally, I hope one of these Android non-phones materializes sooner, rather than later. There's a market for non-phone devices and it'll be better off for having competition.
post #9 of 78
In many ways Creative finally has something that is completely better than Apple's offering. As a portable computing device (and possibly phone) the zii egg is better than the current and probably next ipod touch. Just the thought of being able to develop non-gimped applications without apple's gatekeeper style, while at the same time getting a form factor very similar to the ipod with twice as many hardware features is rather exciting.

This is what the 3GS should have been.

Its a shame that it may not get anywhere, because it is impossible to beat Apple in that sector. For once I am rooting for Creative and not Apple.
post #10 of 78
"Zii Egg" is nearly OS agnostic and Creative is inviting anybody that wants to, to ship it with their own variant of whatever. This is MSFT's business model in reverse and looks an awful lot like Symbian.

Symbian was probably the best handset OS on the market until the iPhone was introduced and exposed its great big weakness. There were so many variants of Symbian that developers didn't know which one to develop for, and it was too expensive to develop for them all. That and Symbian's APIs were easy to use.

For "Zii Egg" to be viable Creative must partner with someone with the clout to establish a new OS on the marketplace. The iPod owns 70% of the market and those users aren't going to switch lightly because of the lack of an iTunes Store equivalent. That leaves a highly fragmented 30% of the market over which to compete. I don't know who that firm would be (seriously).

This would have been a great competitor to the iPod 5 years ago, but today its requirements for success are too great.
post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Wow, a triple-win partnership. That is a lot of win you've got there.


Quite a mouth full. Zii Egg? Is that pronounced zee, like Wii is pronounced wee? Great words guys. Plaszma paltform, StemCell technology, ZMS-05 processor, Zii Egg...

Zii egg vill be zii det of Apple.
Really! It vill.
post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Wow, a triple-win partnership. That is a lot of win you've got there.


Quite a mouth full. Zii Egg? Is that pronounced zee, like Wii is pronounced wee? Great words guys. Plaszma paltform, StemCell technology, ZMS-05 processor, Zii Egg...

In all seriousness though, what's up with an Android device running an Opera browser? What happened to WebKit and Chrome? And in general, I do not understand how the open source community backing Android has continued to turn a blind eye to Google's support of proprietary runtimes like Flash Lite!

If you check, the Opera and Flash support are on Creative's own Linux OS Plazma. The device supports that OS or using Android
post #13 of 78
I guess they have decided to be creative and make a whole new type of device that will be easily distinguished from the current ipod touch.
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post #14 of 78
lol the design of that flyer reminds me of the that msft package design parody.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeXAcwriid0
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post #15 of 78
Quote:
...can handle up to 64GB of storage with a SDHC card


SDHC and later SDXC will be the storage medium of choice for nearly all future hand held and computing devices.

Quote:
The next-generation SDXC memory card specification, released to members in April, 2009, dramatically improves consumers digital lifestyles by increasing storage capacity from more than 32 GB up to 2 TB and increasing bus interface speed up to 104 MB per second in 2009 with a road map to 300 MB per second. SDXC's extended capacity will provide more portable storage and speed, which are often required to support new features in consumer electronic devices and mobile phones.

A 2 TB SDXC memory card could store an estimated 100 HD movies or 480 hours of HD recording or 136,000 fine-grade photos. Faster bus speeds will enable professional-level recording in compact consumer camcorders and increase the number of frames shot in a second with SDXC cameras.

The faster bus speeds in the SDXC specification also will benefit SDHC, Embedded SD and SDIO specifications.

http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc


Of course product design and marketing is clearly superior with Apple than Creative, as Apple as the ability to tie everything together nearly perfectly (glossy screen bitch goes here)


So even though Creative may have gotten the jump with SDHC, Apple is sure to come out with a SDXC capable device, perhaps the new iPod Touch and/or iTablet hopefully soon.

I'm thinking SSD is too big and too expensive for Apple's 'thin and sexy' product line.

But then Apple bought up a few years worth of SSD to get the price down, so perhaps it will take some time to work through this inventory first.

Bummer.
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post #16 of 78
[right] At least the Zune HD looks like something out of halo [/right]
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post #17 of 78
Welcome to yet another 'i' competitor!

I am kinda getting tired of each and every company (literally) gunning to unseat the 'i' and take over their thrones.

In my opinion, few years from now, this Zii will be remembered as one of the valiant brave fighters to take on the 'i' kingdom (in vain)

All these competitors forget that the main reason why Apple is successful is not because their products are all-superior (there are better products). But the whole 'package' thing is what makes Apple and it's products stand out from the rest of the pack.
post #18 of 78
Dual cameras! Man, that's what I've been waiting for Apple to come out with. Mobile video chatting just makes sense. I can't believe it didn't come out with the 3GS. I would be VERY surprised if the iPhone didn't have it in next years model. Now I just have to wait till it happens. Sucks.
post #19 of 78
There is a problem with copying Apple's design.

Every time someone sees your product (however rare that may be) they'll think it IS an Apple product. You'll be giving Apple free mindshare and publicity instead of yourself.
post #20 of 78
This does have some good points:

1) The hardware platform as well as the operating system is available for third parties to use. This means a lot of Zii based players will come from third party manufacturers who would otherwise be really struggling against the iPod Touch.

2) It'll probably be quite cheap.

3) Choice of two operating systems gives OEM choice. Android if you're making a Zii phone, the other one if you want something closer to the metal.

However there is a major pitfall: whilst it is based around ARM, it's not using A8. It's not even using ARM11. It's using ARM9. Two of them, to be fair, but the clock speeds are fairly slow. This device is really using dedicated hardware to the max to achieve things. I think in the near term this will be a big crutch for this SoC design. Or it'll be very cheap.

Still, it has 256MB, up to 64GB storage, decent screen, decent OS (Android is maturing quite well), and Creative aren't bad at designing this type of device.
post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyce9000 View Post

In many ways Creative finally has something that is completely better than Apple's offering. As a portable computing device (and possibly phone) the zii egg is better than the current and probably next ipod touch. Just the thought of being able to develop non-gimped applications without apple's gatekeeper style, while at the same time getting a form factor very similar to the ipod with twice as many hardware features is rather exciting.

Only in terms of hardware features (it seems), but that's cool--we all benefit from real competition if that's the case. But it is not *better* than the iPod Touch, because the iPod Touch has Apple's OS X-based mobile 3.0 software in it, which is king, a thriving market of apps, tight integration with iTunes, and the finest selection of mobile software available. They can't package that user experience like Apple can.

I'm still thrilled to see this.
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post #22 of 78
can u say vapor ware...
post #23 of 78


Bring it on.
post #24 of 78
Could they have copied the iphone/ipod touch's looks any more? I mean seriously.

As usual, I'll say the same thing, more competing products means Apple won't get lazy blah blah blah

I think I won't ever buy another creative product after my experience with my latest x-fi card. For months and months and MONTHS the drivers gave me clicking and hissing and what not. Now it works fine and all, but good God almighty this is something you'd think would be worked out PRIOR to releasing the product.

Add the fact that they artificially limited their Vista drivers, and then threatened to sue a very smart man after he unlocked features people paid for and released the hacked drivers on his own... Imagine that, you paid for dolby digital, but you can't have it, EVEN THOUGH someone has shown it works fine in their hacked drivers. Yuck

Yeah, I think I'm done with creative. They gave the world soundblaster and then got lazy.
post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyce9000 View Post

In many ways Creative finally has something that is completely better than Apple's offering. As a portable computing device (and possibly phone) the zii egg is better than the current and probably next ipod touch. Just the thought of being able to develop non-gimped applications without apple's gatekeeper style, while at the same time getting a form factor very similar to the ipod with twice as many hardware features is rather exciting.

This is what the 3GS should have been.

Its a shame that it may not get anywhere, because it is impossible to beat Apple in that sector. For once I am rooting for Creative and not Apple.

Until you get you hands on one it'll be tough to back up that statement. The business model for 3rd party apps might be better because there won't be a gatekeeper like Apple. Or it could be far, far worse if nobody develops for it or if it's confusing for customers to figure out which version of which applications work with which version of the OS (the OS could be a moving target as Android evolves). No Apple gatekeeper could make it easier for developers, or it could make it more difficult to get your app in front of the customer to consider.

The hardware specs may look better, but we should know better by now that specs and actual performance and user experience aren't necessarily related. How big and heavy is the battery to power all that hardware? How long will a single charge last? How responsive is the UI? How well will it sync with my email, contacts, calendars, music, video?

A lot of unanswered questions...
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by nite41 View Post

Welcome to yet another 'i' competitor!

I am kinda getting tired of each and every company (literally) gunning to unseat the 'i' and take over their thrones.

In my opinion, few years from now, this Zii will be remembered as one of the valiant brave fighters to take on the 'i' kingdom (in vain)

This one is special because it provides the Android platform on a non-phone, and you can not dismiss Android so easily as an also-ran.

Moreover, it provides GPS, something that the iPod touch doesn't have, and the rumors don't mention for the next-generation one. If so, I may get a Zii to replace my disappointing Garmin handheld GPS. Of course the GPS must be accurate enough, which seems to be problematic on such general platforms, but we'll see.
post #27 of 78
I guess developers have to buy the physical device first in order to develop for it? What about using an emulator?

There is a flaw in Creative's logic in looking at this at a competitor to the iPod Touch and not the iPhone.

As long as none of the phone API's are used, a developer can create once and it will run on two platforms (iPod Touch / iPhone). If creative prices their models too close together to the iPod Touch, it won't give developers much of a reason to switch platforms.

In addition, what is the intended revenue stream going to be? Will they have an App-store equivalent like Apple? What is the overhead-cost for a paid app. Not much info to go off from. If these things aren't answered ahead of time, there's not much reason for a developer to even consider it.
post #28 of 78
This is very likely a solid piece of hardware without any supported software whatsoever.

I used to swear by Creative Sound Cards in my PC days. fantastic hardware, but the installs were buggy. Meh, the features that didn't work I don't care about anyway... With frequent Windows OS installs/updates, the installation process got worse, until it no longer functioned acceptably. Creative didn't update their drivers much, so even the "latest" driver failed.

At that time, I would go out and buy a new Creative sound card, and be happy with the amazing 90% functionality. The cycle would go for another round.

One day I was in Best Buy, about to purchase a $100 card to replace the $100 card I already had. Every feature on the box that I cared about was one that used to work in the one I had. I walked out of the store empty handed, and with a pit of disgust in my stomach.

Later, I read about Creative going after an enthusiast who was modding drivers to keep older Creative cards going. (copyright infringement/reverse-engineering) I made an effort to get his drivers, but the links were already shut down...

Why would I expect Creative's support of this device to be any different?

I came to realize that good, expensive hardware with crappy software might as well be crappy hardware. My next computing hardware purchase was a Mac!

(Looks like chronster had similar experiences and thoughts!)
post #29 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbehunin View Post

Dual cameras! Man, that's what I've been waiting for Apple to come out with. Mobile video chatting just makes sense. I can't believe it didn't come out with the 3GS. I would be VERY surprised if the iPhone didn't have it in next years model. Now I just have to wait till it happens. Sucks.

You realize that this Zii is not a phone. Maybe over WIFI it will be fine. Over 3G....Right!
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post #30 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by unferth View Post

"Stem-cell technology"? My God, Apple is finished, for this thing runs on babies!

There goes the Christian Right customers. They'll just have to stick with the Jesus Phone.
post #31 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Wow, a triple-win partnership. That is a lot of win you've got there.


Quite a mouth full. Zii Egg? Is that pronounced zee, like Wii is pronounced wee? Great words guys. Plaszma paltform, StemCell technology, ZMS-05 processor, ...

Spelling alert: I think the correct spelling is ZtemZell....
post #32 of 78
Looking at the feature set, this will be the first PMP to make battery times on the iPhone and Pre look good. No idea where they intend to get HD content from though...

I just hope Apple will enable at least 720p playback on the 3GS soon. The hardware is fully capable of it, and the dock connector to component cable should work as well. They should really not offer HD playback after Zune HD and Creative.
post #33 of 78
Another wannabe!
post #34 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

There goes the Christian Right customers. They'll just have to stick with the Jesus Phone.

... which they keep next to their gun and bible.
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post #35 of 78
Ha! Zii... Zune... Zucks.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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GOA

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post #36 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by O and A View Post

lol the design of that flyer reminds me of the that msft package design parody.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeXAcwriid0

When I saw that image in the AI story, I thought it was a joke. I knew it reminded me of something, and you are right, it's this parody (which I highly recommend for a good laugh).
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post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyce9000 View Post

In many ways Creative finally has something that is completely better than Apple's offering.

Oh, really? Here's just a starter question: Why do you suppose there are no profile shots of "Zii Egg"?
post #38 of 78
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We're "gonna," we're "about ta'," we "promise to," etc., etc., etc.

Remember what a "killer" the Pre was going to be before IT was finally released unto the world? Same thing here. Potemkin villages look really, really solid from a fast-moving train. It's the slow, considered, deliberate observation that reveals its lack of a structural foundation.

More crap here from the desperate. No innovation, no creativity, no research, no expansion of ideas. Just ordure from the East.
post #39 of 78
Until it comes to market and is on the shelves . . . it's just another promise unfulfilled. Another "iPod Killer" that lost.

Let's see one for real. Let's see reviews. Let's see how it does in the real world. Right now it's just another also-ran showing up late to the party with a derivative, unreleased product.
post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

SDHC and later SDXC will be the storage medium of choice for nearly all future hand held and computing devices.
http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc

That's nice, but are there any shipping SDXC products? I checked Amazon and Newegg, if neither of those have it, I assume it's probably not available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbehunin View Post

Dual cameras! Man, that's what I've been waiting for Apple to come out with. Mobile video chatting just makes sense. I can't believe it didn't come out with the 3GS. I would be VERY surprised if the iPhone didn't have it in next years model. Now I just have to wait till it happens. Sucks.

There doesn't seem to be much real clamor for dual cameras. The second camera is really for video conferencing, but if you ask the people that have dual cameras, they almost always say they don't do video conferencing with it. So, what's the point? I can't say I've seen people use the cameras on their computers very often either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Looking at the feature set, this will be the first PMP to make battery times on the iPhone and Pre look good. No idea where they intend to get HD content from though...

I think the assumption is that people will acquire it themselves somehow. Either by recording their own over the air, creating their own with cameras and such, or just simply downloading it online.

Quote:
I just hope Apple will enable at least 720p playback on the 3GS soon. The hardware is fully capable of it, and the dock connector to component cable should work as well. They should really not offer HD playback after Zune HD and Creative.

not? How does the copy protection work? Is there some form of standardized copy protection for analog 720p?
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