updated 10:10 am EDT, Tue July 28, 2009
Creative Zii Egg
Arriving late to touchscreen players, Creative today unveiled the Zii Egg. The device is in its stock form a competitor to the iPod touch with a 3.5-inch 480x320 multi-touch display that supports music, photo and video playback as well as web browsing. Creative however sees the device as a development platform. The built-in Plaszma operating system is Linux-based and therefore open-source, letting companies or end users add software, change features or even replace the OS; the device is ready to use Google's Android almost out of the box.
It also promises certain technical edges over the iPod through a graphics processor that can not only render 42 million pixels per second but output video at 720p or 1080p through HDMI. The general-purpose design gives it not only Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but both an HD-capable outward camera for taking photos and a front VGA camera for self-portraits or video conferencing. A GPS receiver is built-in for location-based apps even when the Zii Egg is beyond Wi-Fi, and Creative's X-Fi audio processing is standard.
Unusually for most of its players, Creative hasn't specified plans to ship the Zii Egg as its own, pre-packaged device. It should cost as little as $199 US, however, and the company is inviting other firms to treat it as a blank slate which could have no built-in storage whatsoever or as much as 32GB of internal memory plus SDHC cards of similar size.