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Creative Launches New HanZpad Platform - Comprising the Ground-Breaking 100-Core ZMS-40 StemCell Media Processor, the Latest Android 4.x Tablet Reference Designs and a Powerful Chinese Operating System

HanZpad Platform Solutions Target China's Vast Tablet Market Including Education Market for Digital Textbooks and Classrooms

ZMS-40 StemCell Media Processors
ZMS-40 StemCell Media Processors

HanZpad GS Tablet Reference Design
HanZpad GS Tablet Reference Design

BEIJING - 15 February 2012 - Creative Technology Ltd and ZiiLABS, a pioneering media processor and platforms company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd), today announced the Creative HanZpad platform. The new platform comprises ZiiLABS' latest 100-core ZMS-40 StemCell Media Processor, a series of HanZpad tablet reference designs based on the ZMS-40 and optimized for Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich), and a powerful Chinese operating system (OS).

With their Chinese characteristics, the HanZpad platform solutions target China's vast tablet computer markets, especially the education market at an opportune time when its government aims to transform the conventional education system to one that embraces the latest in digital technologies- an aspiration that will lead to the age of the Digital Textbooks, Digital Classrooms and the Digital School Bags.

The HanZpad Alliance, a collaborative platform with multi-partners in both horizontal and vertical market segments is formed to provide fully-integrated solutions and supply chain management for the design, development, production and marketing of tablet computers based on the HanZpad platform.

The era of the tablet computer has arrived. It is envisaged that the adoption rate of tablet computers will be like a raging flood that will reach every strata of society and all far corners of the world. Whether from the perspective of its attractive form factor, competitive pricing, ease of use, to its eco-friendly high energy efficiency, the allure of the tablet computer is unmistakable and far exceeds that of the PC. Furthermore, a tablet computer with more processing cores can have computing power that is comparable to that of a PC or notebook. All these attributes make the tablet computer the new darling of the modern world. It also signifies the arrival of the post-PC era where the tablet computer can become the dominant market for both the PC and consumer electronics markets.

The worldwide growth in demand for tablet computers has the potential to be so tremendous that it could surpass that of the PC in its days. With great advancements in tablet technologies and wide applications, tablet computers are revolutionizing the way people interact and communicate with each other. The impact of this modern-day development may well be even greater than the invention of the paper-making and the printing technologies, two of the 'Four Greatest Inventions' in history. China will be the biggest market for tablet computers. It is now an opportune time, as well as a critical time, for China hi-tech companies to develop tablet computers with Chinese characteristics that cater to the fast growing demands of this huge market.

Creative Technology, creator of the world renowned Sound Blaster sound cards with a user-base of over 400 million, is well placed to spearhead the development of tablet computers with Chinese characteristics. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary ZiiLABS, Creative has invested over US$1 billion and 10,000 man-years in the development of the ZMS StemCell media processing solutions. Cumulating more than 20 years of valuable experience in Chinese OS, Creative Knowledge China, a pioneer in Chinese computing research and an associate of Creative, has also developed comprehensive Chinese OS based on the Zii platform. Adapting and combining these proprietary technologies and powerful platform solutions for the development of 'HanZpad' will give Chinese hi-tech enterprises great advantage to leverage on the unique characteristics of these platform solutions, lower their business risks, and gain fast entry into the burgeoning tablet computer market.

ZMS-40 - The Powerful "HanZpad China Chip"

At the heart of the HanZpad platform is the ground-breaking 100-core ZMS-40 StemCell Media Processor optimized for Android 4.x. The quad-core ZMS-40 combines 96 of ZiiLABS' StemCell media processing cores with four 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs to deliver stunning multi-tasking application and media processing performance.

By doubling the number of StemCell Media Processors compared to the previous ZMS-20, the ZMS-40 delivers twice the peak media performance, while running the larger array at lower clock speeds to achieve the same performance. This leads to greater energy efficiency and a reduction in power consumption of up to 50 percent. With 2X the performance and 2X the power efficiency, the ZMS-40 delivers ground-breaking media capabilities to handheld devices such as tablets, including ultra-high-resolution H.264 HP decoding of up to 3840x1080 for true 1080p 3D stereo, a rich and interactive desktop browsing experience, 2560x1600 (WQXGA) display resolution support, higher-quality video encoding and immersive OpenGL ES graphics and future support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

The up-and-coming HEVC standard (also known as H.265), besides other qualitative benefits, can also increase data compression ratio by up to 2X as compared to H.264. These technology wizardries are achieved by requiring many more times the computational complexity. HEVC claims to target the next generation Hi-Def TV market which can support scalable resolutions from 320x240 to 1080p with improved picture quality in terms of noise level, color and dynamic range, and all the way up to an incredible resolution of 7680x4320. Being fully programmable and with their massive parallelism, the 96 cores of StemCell Media Processors can easily handle the onerous computational requirements of this new codec and support higher resolutions that are beyond today's display systems.

HanZpad GS - Golden Standard Tablet Reference Designs

HanZpad GS Tablet Reference Design
HanZpad GS Tablet Reference Design

The superior performance, low power consumption and rich feature set of the quad-core ZMS-40 StemCell Processor enabled Creative to develop and design the 'HanZpad GS (Golden Standard)' - an ultra-slim, ultra-lightweight and stylish 10.1-inch Tablet Reference Design.

The HanZpad platform can support an amazing "razor-slim" design as thin as 7.4mm in thickness. The HanZpad can be made so slim and lightweight due to the massive integration of I/O devices and processors within the ZMS-40 chip and also the patent-pending power management technologies invented by ZiiLABS. All the components can now be compacted into a micro-sized motherboard measuring only 2.44" x 4.64", with performance that can rival most laptops and yet consuming only about 1 watt of power.

The HadZpad GS series based on the ZMS-40 supports ZiiLABS' enhanced Android 4.0 implementation that complements the standard Android offering with a rich suite of software to exploit the massive computing power of the ZMS processor. It includes support for:

  • ZiiPhoto for intelligent photo browsing, 3D slide show and special photo effects,
  • ZiiCamera for real-time preview and capturing of photos with 3D effects; live ultra high resolution 40megapixel Panoramic photo capture in one sweep; and high dynamic range images,
  • ZiiVideo for advanced video playback including 1080p WebM (VP8) support and trick modes (such as reverse play, frame-by-frame advance and reverse, multi-speed play and more), and skip to any part of a movie by browsing a timeline with thumbnails,
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi's Crystalizer and CMSS-3D audio effects, and
  • Bluetooth/WiFi high definition audio output.

ZiiLABS' enhanced Android supports not just cloning of the device display onto a TV but also APIs to enable dual independent display, where the TV is showing a different screen from the device. For example, a user could be browsing the web for information while watching an HD video on the TV all at the same time. This usage model has a tremendous range of applications, and is only made possible due to the power of the ZMS-40.

The 'HanZpad Tablet Reference Design Kits' offer far more than any other reference designs currently available in the chip industry. They are a set of comprehensive and complete ready-to-go, quick-to-market Reference Design Kits - from chip, hardware, OS, firmware, software, to IDs (industrial designs) and mechanical designs. They offer OEM customers a wide variety of choices - from performance, price, weight, thickness all the way to any type of stylish customised IDs. All these choices are offered without the OEM having to bear huge R&D costs, exorbitant NRE charges, agonizing design cycle delays and high business risks.

HanZpad Chinese Operating System

The ground-breaking computing performance and multi-tasking feature of the ZMS-40 StemCell Processor also enabled Creative to integrate its advanced and powerful Chinese OS and software into the HanZpad GS - tailoring it especially for the Chinese market and differentiating it from other reference designs in the industry. 

The key features in these Chinese software platforms include: handwritten Chinese character input capability, document processing, file sharing and collaboration, multiple Chinese usage applications, rich media tools and digital education solutions such as the iFlashbook (digital textbook engine). 

These advanced features allow users of the HadZpad tablet computers to enjoy: fast and convenient Chinese handwriting input that beautifies their handwriting, and preserves the document using their personal handwriting; easy editing of pictures and videos to create media-rich documents; and professional dictionaries with advance Chinese input system built in.

With these features, the HanZpad tablet computers can be optimized to make Chinese textbooks come alive through interactive elements, and effective through integration with learning management system for the classroom environment.

All these powerful Chinese software capabilities is a culmination of Creative's more than 20 years of experience in developing Chinese platforms and educational contents for PCs and the Chinese education market, making them uniquely suitable for the Chinese tablet computer market.

HanZpad Applications - Towards the Age of Digital Education

The advent of the tablet computer is set to revolutionize the global educational market. China is embracing this exciting development and pushing forward to implement its Digital Textbooks (电子教科书) and Digital Classrooms (电子教室) initiatives.  Its main aim is to provide free textbooks to all school children through a cost effective learning platform under its compulsory education system.

Through Creative Knowledge China, a pioneer in Chinese computing research and an associate of Creative, Creative has developed many highly acclaimed Chinese software and content over the years. Currently, Creative Knowledge is actively working with the Chinese educational authorities, textbook publishers and schools in developing their Digital Textbooks and Digital Interactive Classrooms.

The HanZpad platform will now include application suites like eSchoolBag (电子书包) designed uniquely for China's education market, making the HanZpad tablet computer an attractive option for the over 200 million Chinese school kids who will rush to adopt this exciting and affordable new learning medium. If implemented, it will profoundly change the fundamentals of the Chinese education system for generations to come.

The HanZpad platform solutions offer tremendous opportunity for OEMs to produce great tablet computers at low cost to meet this huge exploding market demand. 

Apart from the education market, HanZpad's Digital Briefcase (数字公文包) application suites also cater to a wide range of vertical market segments, including commerce, finance, insurance, hotel, logistics and so on.

Formation of the HanZpad Alliance - For Horizontal and Vertical Market Segments

To bring a tablet computer to market involves long chains of activities, both vertical and horizontal, from chip R&D, hardware and software development, OS support, user applications development, networking, content creation, industrial design, to component supply, subcontract manufacturing, mould making, solution provider, content provider and so on.

To enable OEMs to easily ride the wave of the tablet computer, the HanZpad Alliance has been formed to provide fully-integrated solutions and supply chain management for the design, development, production and marketing of tablet computers based on the HanZpad platform. The Alliance is a collaborative platform with multi-partners in both horizontal and vertical market segments to leverage on each others' expertises and resources to proliferate the HanZpad tablet computers.

About Creative

Creative is a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products. Famous for its Sound Blaster® sound cards and for launching the multimedia revolution, Creative is now driving digital entertainment on the PC platform with products like its highly acclaimed ZEN® MP3 and portable media players. Creative's innovative hardware, proprietary technology, applications and services leverage the Internet, enabling consumers to experience high-quality digital entertainment - anytime, anywhere.

About ZiiLABS

ZiiLABS is a leader in media-rich application processors, hardware platforms and advanced middleware. Its products enable OEMs, ODMs, System Integrators and Software Developers to deliver industry-leading devices across a broad range of consumer electronics and embedded markets.  Originally founded in 1994 as 3DLABS, the company re-branded and joined with the Personal Digital Entertainment group of Creative Technology to form ZiiLABS in January 2009. ZiiLABS has invested US$1 billion and 10,000 man-years in media processing solutions and has offices in the UK, China, USA and Singapore.  Learn more about ZiiLABS at: www.ziilabs.com

ZiiLABS, StemCell Computing, hanZpad and Xtreme Fidelity are trademarks or registered trademarks of Creative Technology Ltd. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. ARM and Cortex are trademarks or registered trademarks of ARM Limited. OpenGL ES is a registered trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc.

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Tim Lewis
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