The Zii Mystery Is Unravelled – Creative’s Nano-Sized Supercomputer
Fabrication of Zii
About two weeks ago Creative put up a teaser site about something called the Zii. It quite obviously wasn’t a sound chip, so everyone was left wondering what Creative had gotten up to this time.
A short while ago we finally got to know what this Zii thing actually is. The Zii is a System-on-a-Chip, comprising a processor, motherboard, SDK, middleware, operating system etc. In case you’re wondering, Zii stands for ZEN II, or Zen 2nd Generation.
Soon to be officially unveiled at CES, the Zii may well become one of the most important products ever launched by Creative, perhaps even surpassing the Sound Blaster of yore. Creative has invested many years and more than US$1b into the development of the Zii, which will form the core of many future Creative products.
If you remember Creative’s buyover of 3DLabs back in 2002, it’s now clear that the intention was to get hold of 3DLabs’ next generation graphics architecture, rumored at the time to be highly scalable and programmable. Between that time and now the only chip that has come out of 3DLabs is the DMS-02 application processor, which is also ARM based and fully programmable.
The 3DLabs brand will soon be no more though, as Creative will shortly be announcing the formation of Zii Labs, comprised of former 3DLabs personnel as well as some staff from Creative Labs’ Personal Digital Entertainment group. Their first product is none other than the Zii, or in more technical parlance the ZMS-05 SoC.