updated 09:20 am EST, Fri November 23, 2007
ZEN Stone Plus 4GB Slip
Creative has quietly posted details of a 4GB ZEN Stone Plus, revealing the company's increased efforts in the budget- and sports-oriented music player business dominated in the US by the iPod shuffle. The new version unveiled by Creative's Singapore site will hold about 1,000 songs but occupy the same size as earlier ZEN Stone models. As a Plus version, it also includes a small OLED screen for basic track info and permits FM radio. No price has been given, though the 2GB version currently offered sells for about $70 US and may point to a $100 price for the 4GB model, which appears to come only in black.
The update also brings AAC audio support to the ZEN Stone line, which has previously played only MP3 and WMA tracks. Songs bought using iTunes Plus will work with the device, Creative says. Extra format support is expected to filter down to the 2GB player.
In tandem with the leaked 32GB ZEN, the posting suggests an early boost in capacity for flash-based music players, with more storage available in the same amount of space. Creative has not said whether these extra storage levels are becoming possible due to technical advances or simple hikes in price, but the company is so far the only large-scale company known to reach these capacities without an increase in size.