Ziilabs (originally 3DLABS) is Singapore company, subsidiary of Creative Technology, that provides media application processors for consumers electronics and has offices in the UK, China, USA and Singapore.
Ziilabs has two media processors:
- ZMS-05 – A Low Power HD Programmable Media Rich Processor based on two ARM9 core (ARM9-EJS) mainly aimed at smartphones and tablets with the following media capabilities:
- High compute density SIMD architecture
- High resolution – decode to 1080p / 720p encode
- Simultaneous video encode/decode at D1
- Wide rage of optimised CODECs and APIs
- Accelerated OpenGL ES 3D graphics
- Hardware compositing
- Advanced image processing
- 8 GFlops programmable compute
- ZMS-08 – A HD Media Rich Applications Processor based on an ARM Cortex A8 running @ 1GHz mainly aimed at media players, set-top boxes and digital signage solutions with the following media capabilities:
- Blu-ray Quality 1080p H.264 Video Decode
- 1080p H.264 Video Encode
- 720p H.264 Video Conferencing
- Accelerated OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0
- Xtreme Fidelity X-Fi Audio Technology
- Multi Format Media CODECs
- Accelerated Graphics and Compositing
- Advanced Image Signal Processing
- Rich Peripheral Integration & Connectivity
ZMS-05 is used in Bonux HZ20B and ZMS-08 in Bonux HZ20A Android media players. They could be direct competitors of Sigma Designs SMP processors, but we’ll have to see the performance of their chipset mainly in terms of video quality and the different video supported. Based on Bonux STB prices, they seems to be a serious competitors in terms of price vs Sigma Designs or Intel Atom based media players and set-top boxes.
Ziilabs provides several development boards including a modular solution and application specific development boards namely:
- Zii Development Kit: A Universal modular hardware platform for rapid development with:
- ZMS System Module: Board with the main processor (ZMS-05 or ZMS-08), SDRAM, Boot rom, Ethernet controller, JTAG port…
- A baseboard composed of a USB device port, 2 x USB host ports, HDMI, Component and Composite video outputs, Audio In/Out, Ethernet, GPIO connector and an SD card slots
- Modules: 3G, Camera (VGA and 3MP), multi-touch LCD display, NAND Modules, Wifi, Bluetooth, Digital compass, accelerometer and GPS
- Custom Modules: Customers can design their own modules according to the baseboard connectors.
- Zii Egg: A development board for handheld devices.Actually a smartphone based on ZMS-05.
- Zii Trinity: 3.5G smartphone and development platform ( ZMS-05)
- Zii Sivo: A High Definition media player hardware reference design based on ZMS-08.
- Zii Lionfish: 11.6″ Video conferencing reference platform powered by ZMS-08 media processor. The design looks like a tablet.
- Zii Turtle: Reference platform to be plugged in any computer (via USB) for HD video conference. The reference design makes use of ZMS-05 media processors.
Upon purchase of the devkit, Zillabs will also provide the schematics, gerbers files, design Files, bill of materials (BOM), the Mechanical drawings, 3D CAD model as well as the board support package and software development kit.
For full details about all those development boards, check out Ziilabs Hardware Platforms page.
Only the Zii Egg can be purchased online (but the link is not working right now) for other development platforms and platform projects you’ll need to contact Ziilabs first.
Ziilabs supports two operating systems:
- Plaszma (Linux based) OS : Plaszma OS is a robust, fully featured multi-tasking operating system for creating native and web based applications that take full advantage of the visual and media processing capabilities of the ZMS processor. Based on a standard Linux kernel it supports a rich set of industry standard APIs, CODECs, Web 2.0 browser, 2D/3D graphics, audio and multi-touch gesture UI.
- Android on Plaszma: Android on Plaszma gives developers the chance use the familiar Android OS, but with a difference. Thanks to the underlying StemCell Computing Technology of the ZMS processors, Android has super charged 3D Graphics and High Definition Video Playback.
Their Plaszma SDK allows developer to build applications with the native Plaszma OS C++ development environment running on Ubuntu.The tools packaged within the Plaszma SDK include a variety of proprietary and open-source Linux development tools for developing and debugging application code and designing an application UI. Plaszma SDK includes:
- UI layout helper (supported on Linux PC)
- Eclipse IDE
- ARM gcc cross compilers
- Gdb debugger
- CMake build tool
- Resource file generator (compiles image and text resource files)
- Sample code
Since their SDK cannot be downloaded on their site, check out Plaszma OS and SDK Technical Overview for details about the development environment, OS and API.
To start developing on ZMS processors, you’ll need to register to join ZiiLABS developer program and purchase the Plaszma SDK and ZiiEGG so that you can access all relevant documents.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.