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Creative Unveils Android, Multi-touch Zii MP3 Player

Gordon Kelly


Creative Unveils Android, Multi-touch Zii MP3 Player

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...


Press Release

Nicholas Pires

July 29, 2009, 5:11 am

So this could potentially be a killer phone if Creative actually decided to include a phone module. Instead it'll be used as a uber skype phone. Also looks like an iPhone/iPod but not quite. Impressive indeed! Especially if it'll go for £140.


July 29, 2009, 5:12 am

This could potentially be very interesting, especially since the platform seems exceptional from the video/feature list. It does seem as though Creative isn't releasing this as a consumer product by itself though, as the website seems to market the potential of the platform instead of the consumer qualities.

Here's hoping that some company takes this, puts it in a nicer looking shell (it looks cheap to me atm) and adds phone functionality, then Creative/whoever else may have quite the money maker on their hands.


July 29, 2009, 5:26 am

Fantasic spec list. But 1 question is left in my mind. Do you really want to carry ANOTHER device around with you when something like the iphone or HTC will entertain you.

Tim Sutton

July 29, 2009, 5:57 am


Stick a phone in there please. PLEASE. I'd buy 4. Right now.


July 29, 2009, 6:36 am

Love is a very splendid thing, cant wait to see the build quality,

Creative could really screw this up if they don't go for high quality and great value, its the only sector that's moving.

colour me interested

Bill Broadley

July 29, 2009, 9:57 am

Kinda disappointed in the resolution, why put all the 2D, 3D, and video playback in if you can't see it? Especially since creative removed the HDMI connector. If you want the original version with HDMI on preorder now at: http://www.zii.com/Develope...

Or if you want similar with double the pixels, larger screen, fast cpu (rumored 1 GHz arm), android, and of course a cell phone check out the Sony Xperia X3, also on preorder (not in the USA though).


July 29, 2009, 10:00 am

Well, for starters, this is a development platform, so it's not as if it'll be sold as is to consumers.

The reason for the lack of a phone part is most likely also because of this, as it has just about every other feature that a high-end Smartphone could possibly need. The only disadvantage would be the relatively low resolution display (320x480) compared to the most recent crop of Smartphones.

Also, it does do HD out, but it wasn't mentioned if this was over component video or HDMI, but as it does 1080p out, one has to guess that it's HDMI.

It's actually interesting to see how similar the ZMS-05 Zii processor is similar to the Nvidia Tegra processors, as both use dual core ARM processors, although the ZMS-05 seems to be clocked at far lower speeds than Tegra, but it's a bit hard to tell, as Creative/Zii hasn't released any clock speeds that I could find...


July 29, 2009, 3:25 pm

Spec looks great though it looks less sleeky than ipod touch and feels quite thick from the pics..

oh, I thought the ipod/media player market is shrinking, isnt it?


July 29, 2009, 3:59 pm

I agree with Williamn. Convergence is all well and good, except when you end up with several devices that do many of the same things. An iPhone-class smartphone would render this pretty much redundant. Admittedly I still carry other devices in addition to my smartphone - an MP3 player or sometimes a digital camera - but only because these are single-purpose devices which do their job particularly well. I can't see the need for more than one jack-of-all-trades entertainment device. Of course, this won't be an issue for don't want a smartphone, and on its own terms it should stand up well against the iPod Touch.

Now if only Creative could get back to making high-capacity MP3 players, so that the iPod classic isn't the ONLY choice out there.


July 29, 2009, 4:22 pm

I'm finding it hard to get excited about this. But then I find it hard to get excited about any such device without some sort of mobile data provision. But the iPod Touch obviously has a market and a competent device running Android would be very welcome competition. I think it'll be a bit of a 'wait and see' though...


July 29, 2009, 6:16 pm

Shame the design sucks.

Also, a crucial point is missing, Plazma will come with no app-store whereas Androids is already up and running, just my 2 cents.


July 29, 2009, 7:45 pm

Well all very lovely, but with no phone component (unless someone adds it) it's not that interesting. As people have said the media player segment is shrinking, even iPod sales are down as people move to iPhones instead. Convergence often leads to inferior products, but the tech is there now to have a phone/media player in one that excels in both departments. It's not that yet to merge with cameras yet, we still need that seperately if we care about quality, but in 2009 we've reached the point where it should no longer be necessary to have a device for both phone calls & playing music.

So I don't think this'll do for Creative what the Pre might do for Palm as the market just isn't there anymore. They need to expand their horizons, Apple did and that's set expectations within consummers that this product falls short of reaching.


July 29, 2009, 8:12 pm

Have to agree with HK here, no phone, no sale.

If you're going to spend the money on an iPod Touch, you might as well get the iPhone, buy it outright and use it on pay as you go if the plans are too much.

I don't see much hope for this product.


July 29, 2009, 8:21 pm

After reading all the comments, I feel sorry for Creative...


July 29, 2009, 8:30 pm

I agree the future does lie in merging the handset and MP3 player markets, but there is still a large section of the population looking for separate devices - rightly or wrong. Perhaps a handset edition of the Plaszma can be made in future but I think it does have the potential to be a success.


July 29, 2009, 8:36 pm

@ Ohmz

the iPhone on pay as you go is around £350, so making it out to be a substitute for the iTouch isn't a great comparison in my opinion. There is still a market for PMP's, but it's shrinking rapidly as people realize they can get the functionality from a phone, now I just wish there were some phones around that did music/video to the standards of most decent PMP's because there isn't really one around at the moment (the iPhone doesn't count for the lack of drag n' drop and for being tied to the abomination that is iTunes).

@ xbrumster

There's no doubt they have a great device on their hands (though personally I'm still more interested in Nvidia's Tegra as there's much more solid info on that platform), however stuffing all these features into such a device will put the device in the price range of contract phones and with Android compatibility it really leaves people wanting for that phone functionality.


July 29, 2009, 8:46 pm

@Ohmz I'd agree if PAYG on the iPhone wasn't over 2x the price of the iTouch and the 32GB wasn't over £500.

Economical in the long run? maybe......

A LOT to pay out in one go? definitely!

There is a lot of promise here, remember the iTouch and iPhone share a lot of parts, so it cant be THAT hard to re-package the Zii as a smartphone.

Let's hope we start seeing some Creative adds on TV..... ffs, Apple's "some steps missed" demo of the iPhone was simple and got the job done. I'm wondering whether Creative is trying to pass the buck on advertising onto the 3rd party manufacturers.


July 29, 2009, 9:02 pm

Every time someone says 'iTouch' somewhere a kitten explodes.


July 29, 2009, 9:10 pm

Let me also add my voice to the "OMG I want a phone version" clamour!


July 29, 2009, 9:17 pm

@ Gnormie, gingerbreadman85, I see your (guys?) point on the pricing.

Personally, I always thought that IF I wanted the Touch I'd just eat the cost and get the iPhone and get the whole wireless experience. To me the cost isn't THAT ludicrous that I wouldn't give it serious consideration.

I was all geared up for the iPhone actually, but now with the Palm Pre, Google Android, and who knows what else, I have a lot to consider now before I take the plunge.

This Creative device isn't even on my radar to be honest, I don't see the point in having a mobile phone AND a device as large as this in my pockets. Cue the "...or are you just happy to see me" jokes...


July 29, 2009, 9:25 pm


I don't understand why people don't like the abbreviaton 'iTouch' :P I guess in audiophile circles it's used as a condescending term but I just find it easier then typing out iPod Touch. And if the kittens that explode are anything like my former cat...


(my former cat was literally the reincarnation of satan! :P )


July 29, 2009, 9:42 pm


"Every time someone says 'iTouch' somewhere a kitten explodes."

LOL! ...and I completely agree with the sentiment...


July 29, 2009, 10:18 pm

my apologies Gordon.....

I have a nice little E51 as my phone, i have no need for go-everywhere internet as a teacher.... i'll either be at home with WiFi or at school (10min drive away) with WiFi. However having a decent MP3i can watch vids on is something i find handy.

I just dont see myself getting the use out of the iPhone (or equivilant) so a iPod Touch (miaow Gordon!) or Creative Zii sans phone fills my needs. I doubt i am the only one in that situation either, there are plenty of us out there that dont need to be wired into the internet 24/7, even amongst the more IT savvy individuals.

As is, i have an 8GB iPod on the way with a MacBook Pro 13.3" (£145 rebate cant be argued with) and i look forward to using them together in my classroom.


July 29, 2009, 11:20 pm

If it were a phone as well, I would consider it. However, having just bought an X1050, I'm not really interested in forking out *again* in so short a time...

So I'll join the crowd wanting a phone.


July 30, 2009, 2:33 am

This is clearly a competitor to the iPod Touch not the iPhone and that's the one iPod line that isn't decreasing in sales volume.

If they get this right and if it has access to the Android app store then there's a real challenge on in the high end PMP market again.

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