Could this be the device to slingshot Creative back into the heart of the MP3 player scene?
The recently docile company has announced the 'Plaszma' - yet another criminal attack on our children's attempts/ability to spell, but also an iPod touch rival which calls upon the power of its much hyped Zii chip and Google Android.
The result of these tempting ingredients is startling. The Plaszma features a 3.5in 10 point multi-touch screen with customisable gestures, enough raw processing power to output 1080p high definition video and OpenGL ES compliance that can take advantage of its remarkable 42 million textured pixels/sec fill rate. Beyond this are two cameras - a front facing VGA and a rear facing 'HD camera' capable of capturing high def video footage (720p/1080p unknown).
Surprisingly we are just getting started too since you'll also find WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth with 2.1 and EDR for wireless music streaming, an ambient light sensor and an accelerometer. Internal storage will offer anywhere from nothing to 32GB and this can be augmented via a 32GB compatible SDHC expansion slot. Even the sound quality should be something out of the ordinary with Creative's proprietary X-Fi audio processing.
And we haven't even touched upon Android. Creative will give users a choice to either run its own custom Plaszma OS or Google's open source platform - the latter being far more exciting to my eyes. The Opera 9.7 web browser will be there for your surfing needs too.
Omissions? There aren't many but HDMI would have been nice instead of composite and its seems current technology flavour of the month the digital compass has been skipped over. We also don't know what kind of battery life the Plaszma will provide. That said the whole package weighs just 108g (7g lighter than an iPod touch).
Interestingly, Creative is taking a very different approach to market with the Plaszma. It will target developer communities and manufacturers and sell to them in bulk with prices starting from just $199 (£140) for a Plaszma without internal storage in volume quantities. From here the players can be customised and sold to the public which means Creative takes a step back in the distribution chain. So fingers' crossed there will be substantial interest.
Could the Zii ultimately do for Creative what webOS did for Palm? Potentially...