ZiiLabs to wow the Android 4.0 community with new “100-core” processor

Who ever said 4 cores was enough, apparently not ZiiLabs. ZiiLabs unveiled a 100-core processor today called the ZMS-40. What’s more? It’s optimized specifically for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). No, really. The company’s SoC combines 96 StemCell Media Processing cores that operate simultaneously with a ARM Cortex A9 quad-core processor. So, if you’re counting that’s 96 + 4 to bring us to an even 100.

Now, don’t ask us how all this magic works, because we don’t know. All we know is that if this thing is as amazing we think it is, the age of the quad-core Android device is over and it only barely started. ZiiLabs promises double the performance with only half the power consumption from their previous ZMS-20 processor. Think there will be an update at CES? We think so too. If they’re trying to make money off this new amazing processor they  produced, you can bet the farm on that. So as we learn more, you’ll learn more, for now, check out the official press release below.

ZiiLABS Unveils 100-Core ZMS-40 Processor: Double the Performance, Half the Power Consumption
Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9 and 96 StemCell Media Processing Cores Enhance Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Performance and Battery Life

Singapore – ZiiLABS, a pioneering media processor and platforms company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd), today unveiled its ground-breaking 100-core ZMS-40 StemCell Media processor optimized for Android. The 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 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 3840×1080 for true 1080p 3D stereo, a rich and interactive desktop browsing experience, 2560×1600 (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 320×240 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 7680×4320. 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.

The latest ZiiLABS MandelMark data highlights how the increase in size of the StemCell array can result in a 2X increase in performance or a 50% reduction in power consumption. MandelMark is ZiiLABS’ OpenGL ES 2.0 shader implementation of the Mandelbrot algorithm and is designed to test the computing performance of modern GPUs. Additional information on MandelMark can be found at: www.ziilabs.com/mandelmark

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 and 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 40 megapixel 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.

ZiiLABS’ enhanced Android supports not just cloning of the device display onto a TV but also APIs to enable dual independent displays, 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 ZMS-40 continues our strategy to deliver ground breaking processors, hardware platforms and software solutions that enable our partners to differentiate and win market share in the Android tablet space,” said Hock Leow, President of ZiiLABS. “Our customers demand innovation and ready-for-market solutions and with ZMS-40, JAGUAR and the latest Android software we continue to deliver phenomenal performance, features and value.”

“We are already working through the draft specifications of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and expect the flexibility and performance of the ZMS-40 to meet the challenging computation complexity of this emerging CODEC in order to deliver higher-quality and lower bandwidth.” said Tim Lewis, Director of Marketing at ZiiLABS.

“The tablet market for China is going to explode, especially with China’s recent emphasis on digital textbooks, digital school bags and digital classrooms for all of its students. We have gained tremendous momentum by working with various partners in this vertical segment of the market alone during the past year,” said Sim Wong Hoo, Chairman and CEO of Creative Technology Ltd. “The ZMS-40 further allows us to design and develop a breath-taking 4th generation Android tablet aimed squarely at the Chinese market. Leveraging on the vast Chinese computing technologies and educational content expertise we have mustered over the decades, we have developed a beautiful, ultra-slim, ultralight Chinese tablet with Chinese characteristics and unprecedented performance based on the ZMS-40 and Android 4.0 with our very own Chinese platform.”

“We are now forging ahead to form a Chinese Tablet Alliance with several major Chinese partners both in the horizontal and vertical market segments to further develop, build and market this timely tablet, ” added Sim. “Details of this Chinese tablet and the alliance will be unveiled soon.”

Android 4.0 (ICS) tablets and associated design-kits based on the ZMS-40 will be showcased at the ZiiLABS suite (Venetian) in Las Vegas between 10 – 13 Jan at the CES 2012 tradeshow.
ZMS-40 Differentiating Features

Quad 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MP Cores
96x fully-programmable StemCell Media Processing cores
58 GFlops StemCell compute power
Wide range of accelerated video codecs including HEVC, H.264, VC1 and WebM (VP8)
True 1920x1080p 3D stereo playback (3840×1080)
Double the CPU performance for enhanced multi-tasking
Double the Graphics and Media performance i
Half the power consumption for longer battery life ii
Support for ZiiLABS enhanced Android 4.0 implementation
2560×1600 (WQXGA) resolution support for next-generation LCDs and Displays

ZMS-40 Key Features

High-Definition, low-latency video conferencing
Optimised OpenGL ES 2.0 for robust 3D graphics acceleration
Accelerated OpenCL 1.1 (desktop profile) integrated into Android NDK
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Image Processing
High-quality Text-to-Speech and Voice Recognition
Integrated HDMI 1.4 with 3D stereo support
2GB addressable memory
DDR2/3 at 533 MHz for low-cost
LPDDR2 for maximum memory bandwidth and low-power
64-bit wide memory bus
Quad independent video controllers supporting 24-bit displays and cameras
3V3 and 1V8 I/O’s reduce peripheral power consumption
Dual USB 2.0 HS OTG (Host/Peripheral) controllers with PHY for low system cost
Three independent SDIO/MMC controllers
Extended battery life with robust Dynamic Power Management and Instantaneous On
Enhanced Security: 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and TrustZone

Availability and Specifications

The ZiiLABS ZMS-40 is sampling to select customers based on the JAGUAR tablets running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
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

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