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Life After My iPhone

There are plenty of other niggling issues that, though insignificant in isolation, combine to form a more potent whole. There are too many to list here, but my biggest long term concern is the iPhone's limited video codec support. This severely limits it as a portable media player and no matter what video processing the next generation iPhone has, its format support seems unlikely to widen all that much - it's just not Apple's way of doing things. Then there's the whole battery life issue, which is always a problem when using one device for such a wide range of purposes. Multimedia playback, be it video or music, only intensifies this issue.

All of which has brought me to look very closely at dedicated portable media players. Cowon's excellent iAudio S9 briefly tempted me, but it seems likely to be superseded by other devices. It's a crying shame that Microsoft isn't bringing the Zune HD to the UK as yet. All reports suggest it's a cracking device, so hopefully either it or some other nVidia Tegra-powered device will reach our shores soon.

Is the Creative Zii EGG the next device to break new ground?

What's really piqued my curiosity, however, is Creative's Zii EGG. In terms of raw capability the Zii EGG is an incredibly enticing prospect. A 3.5in, 320 x 480 display could do with a higher resolution, but it's capacitive and multi-touch enabled and should be pretty sharp. While the EGG can have up to 32GB of built-in storage, it also has a full-size SD card slot, so this can be doubled to a massive 64GB.

Other highlights include GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, while an HD video camera and front-facing VGA camera surpasses anything the iPhone has managed. Naturally, being a Creative device, X-Fi audio processing is on hand, so audio fidelity shouldn't be a problem - another advantage over an iPhone.

What really sets it apart, however, is the video processing proffered by the ZMS, StemCell (as dubbed by Creative) processor. How does 1080p video output to a TV sound? Good? Yeah, I thought so, too. How about hardware acceleration of Flash video as well? Even better. This graphics capability can be put to good use for games, too, covering one area where the iPhone is increasingly carving a valuable niche.

Finally we have Creative's innovative approach to the device. Not happy with just creating great technology, it has decided to open up the Zii EGG to any number of ODMs to develop on and distribute. This sense of openness, which extends to the choice between Creative's own Plazsma OS and Android, is the very antithesis of Apple's closed approach. As Android has proved, an open source platform has its issues, but ultimately the potential for innovation and (most pertinently) choice is an exciting prospect. As such, while I love my iPhone, I'm ready for a change and I hope the Creative Zii EGG provides the platform for another game changing piece of mobile tech.

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