updated 12:15 pm EDT, Wed September 2, 2009
Creative's first true touchscreen media player
Creative today entered touchscreen players in earnest by launching the ZEN X-Fi2. Unlike the currently developer-only and Android-based Zii Egg, the new model is a direct replacement with a custom interface for its 3-inch touchscreen that simplifies the controls. The namesake X-Fi audio engine has also been given a boost and should restore details lost to audio compression not only in music but FM radio and video.
Dimensions have also been slimmed down partly through newer technology but also the use of microSDHC instead of regular SDHC cards for storage.
Audio format support allows for AAC, Audible books, FLAC, MP3 and WMA, but video is the X-Fi2's emphasis with DivX 4/5, MPEG-4, WMV and XviD all playing natively. Extra touches include a mic for voice recording and the option of syncing and caching RSS news feeds to read offline, but the new X-Fi doesn't have the Wi-Fi that certain original X-Fi models did.
Low prices are also Creative's selling points, as players start at $130 for an 8GB version and will include a $180 16GB version as well as a $230 32GB model. Pre-orders start today through Amazon and Creative itself, but the company hasn't said when the players ship.
Creative's first real touchscreen player arrives nearly two years after Apple and also lags behind other companies like Microsoft and Sony that were also late to respond to devices like the iPod touch.