Creative is betting on its Jaguar3 Android tablet. The Singapore firm has 100 patents for its tablet design kits and is optimistic about reversing its past losses. It is also one of the 7 Google's approved vendors and has the source code to Honeycomb Android tablet.
Creative Technology returns to its engineering roots with the Jaguar 3, a family of design kits for Android tablet computers that it unveiled recently.
With Jaguar 3, Creative shows off the engineering prowess that developed the very first sound card and propelled the company to dominate the multimedia industry in the mid-1990s.
Its chairman, Mr Sim Wong Hoo, revealed at the launch: "We have about 100 patents which we've developed with Jaguar 3, covering areas such as mobile devices, set-top boxes and consoles."
He said Creative had poured "tens of millions" into developing Jaguar 3. It developed out of the high-end graphics cards used mostly in computer-aided design applications and which were built by 3D Labs.
Creative acquired 3D Labs in 2002, shut it down in 2006 and merged it with its own personal digital entertainment group to form Ziilabs. This subsidiary then used the technology to develop media processors that can handle real-time data streaming.
Jaguar 3 is Ziilabs' latest iteration and Creative's best hope of washing away the red ink accumulated from pre-tax losses three years in a row.
Mr Sim was non-committal when asked how Jaguar 3 would help the company's bottom line. All he would say was this: "The gold mine is coming. We're nearly there."
He has good reason for his ebullience. Holding 100 patents helps. Getting into the tablet market early, which is only about a year old, is advantageous.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can use Jaguar 3 to make tablets quickly and cash in on an exploding market forecast to sell more than 145 million units by 2015.
The technology looks impressive. The ZMS-20 and ZMS-40 chips used have superior graphics technology, which has even Hollywood studios salivating, according to Mr Sim.
"LucasFilm Animation is interested in our technology because we can do frame rendering at one-tenth the cost," said Mr Sim, adding that he was willing to license the technology to other companies.
As one of Google's seven approved vendors, Creative also has the source code to Android Honeycomb. "We know how the technology works, we can build future iterations of Android very quickly now," he said.
So, when Google releases its next version of Android, Ice-Cream Sandwich, Ziilabs should be able to switch the Jaguar 3 platform to the new operating system within two months, he said.
Clearing the red ink, however, may take at least a year or two. "I'm here today because I want to tell our shareholders and to lift the morale of our employees that we're leading in the game" Mr Sim said.
via Digital Life
Did Creative really hit a gold mine this time?
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