Creative intros Zen Style M300, ships to US early
Creative had a slew of introductions on Thursday headlined by its own take on the concept behind the iPod nano. The Zen Style M300 and M100 have the square, compact frame but replaces the touchscreen with touch-sensitive buttons at the edges. The M300 adds a rare touch at its size with Bluetooth 2.1 to support wireless headphones and speakers.
PMP features Bluetooth, WiFi, touchscreen
Creative has filed for FCC approval for the Zen Touch 2 media player. The certification is needed due to the 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless capabilities of the Android-based device. The filing also confirmed that Creative will offer two versions of the player, one with GPS and one without.
Creative intros WP-300 headphones and Zen Touch 2
As part of the same launch that brought the Ziio tablets, Creative today put out both a sequel to its Zen Touch MP3 player and a new set of Bluetooth headphones. The Zen Touch 2 is a rare Android-based MP3 player and outputs Bluetooth audio with the same apt-X compression as the Ziios, theoretically supplying lossless wireless sound over Bluetooth. Equally unique is the option of GPS in some models that lets them use stand-alone GPS apps without having to use a cellular connection.
Creative details new range of ZEN Style PMPs
Creative on Thursday revealed two new product lines for overseas, the ZEN X-Fi Style and ZEN Style. Either is meant to be stylish and offer a choice of colors. All ZEN X-Fis use a 2.4-inch display with a 320x240 resolution, a built-in speaker and a claimed 25-hour battery life for music or five hours for video. It can be had in 8GB, 16GB or 32GB capacities, and there is no expansion memory card slot.
Zii Trinity serves as reference Android phone
Creative entered the phone arena for the first time today by launching its Zii Trinity platform. Like the Zii Egg, the Trinity is a reference design rather than a full product and gives those building hardware or software a full-touchscreen Android (or Creative's own Plaszma) smartphone to work from. It supports quad-band GSM/EDGE as well as tri-band, 7.2Mbps 3G over HSPA but still carries the ZMS-05 chip that provides 1080p video decoding and hardware accelerated OpenGL ES 3D.
Creative ZEN X-Fi2
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.
Creative adds ZEN MX PMP
Creative has added a new entry-level model to its portable audio player line-up with the ZEN MX. Available in models with 8GB or 16GB of internal memory, the new players look largely like the company's current ZEN players with detail changes to the control button layout. The same 2.5-inch LCD display with 320x240 resolution remains. Supported audio files include MP3, WMA (with DRM) and Audible 4. As for videos, only Creative's proprietary video-CMV format is compatible. Creative did include its Creative Centrale software that will convert videos into the format, however.
Creative Zen Moo, Mi dock
Creative today tried to appeal to a niche market by introducing a line of Zens encapsuled in a cow's head likeness, calling it the ZEN Moo. Basically a new exterior for what is essentially the Zen Stone, the Moo includes 2GB of integrated memory with MP3 and WMA file support as well as built-in speakers. There is an entry version and a higher-end one, called the Plus, that includes a small OLED display behind the cow's nose, an FM tuner, voice recording functionality and an alarm clock.
SanDisk Sansa Clip 8GB
SanDisk raised the stakes in its competition against the iPod shuffle and Creative ZEN Stone with a new, 8GB version of the Sansa Clip. The capacity gives it storage for up to 2,000 songs and doubles the capacity of Creative's best ultra-small models and quadruple that of Apple's. It continues to hold the same four-line OLED display that lets it have full control over music while still rendering it small enough to attach to a belt or clothes through its namesake hook.
Creative X-Fi Teaser
Creative is readying itself for a new X-Fi product launch next week, the copmany has revealed through an invite sent out to an Engadget reader. The invite for the September 17th event provides only a brief glimpse of a device with the X-Fi logo and states that the brand is "heard everywhere," hinting that the launch is for one or more portable devices. No other details have been revealed through the message.
Rumors on Creative tablet
A Wednesday report suggests a patent filed by Creative at the start of 2008 may reveal an upcoming ZEN Internet tablet or ZEN Vision media player. Creative itself describes the device as a media player in the PDF patent document but conspicuously shows features such as a back-mounted camera that aren't normally used in this class of device.
Creative ZEN Mozaic 16GB
Creative has quietly updated its ZEN Mozaic to 16GB, doubling the capacity of the player just a week before observers and inside sources expect Apple to update iPods through a special event. The new model should have the same features as the 2GB through 8GB Mozaic models, including the relatively rare external speaker as well as FM radio, voice microphone, and Creative's newer Centrale software for syncing media more easily than the company's past software.
Flash Memory Price Tanks
Prices on the flash memory used in portable devices have plummeted in the past month, according to a report by DRAMeXchange. The Taiwan-area research firm says that a combination of economic inflation, the Sichuan earthquake in mainland China, and a seasonal lack of orders in spring have forced companies producing NAND flash to drop their prices by about 20 percent between June and July in order to clear overstock and is only expected to get worse. As the usual recovery isn't expected to be as strong, the problem could last until at least the end of the summer, the researchers say.
Creative ZEN Mozaic player
Creative Technology on Thursday introduced the Creative ZEN Mozaic portable media player. The "boldly designed" player is available in black, pink, and silver colors for what the company says is a "statement that reflects the user's sense of fashion and individual style." It features a built-in speaker like the ZEN Wav, 1.8-inch LCD color screen, FM radio with 32 presets, and a microphone for voice recording. The compact Mozaic also runs unusually long with up to 32 hours of audio playback on a single charge of the battery.
Creative ZEN Krystal Slips
Creative is trying its hand again at competing with the iPod shuffle through a new and sleeker player, according to an unofficial release from its own website. The ZEN Krystal appears a successor to the earlier ZEN Stone Plus but is designed from the start to be used with its OLED screen with an upright design rather than the side layout of the pebble-shaped ancestor. It also targets the exercise market with a built-in pedometer that not only tracks jogging but comes with several games that tie into the pedometer's sensitivity to movement.
Creative ZEN X-Fi for US
Creative this morning set US launch information for the ZEN X-Fi, its first Wi-Fi media player. The local launch quickly follows the Singapore announcement and prices the full wireless versions well below the iPod touch and also with more features than Microsoft's flash-based and similarly wireless Zunes, putting a 16GB version of the player at $200 and a 32GB player at $300. An 8GB player without wireless will sell for $150. All three should be available in early August.
Creative ZEN X-Fi
Creative on Thursday took the wraps from the ZEN X-Fi, the company's first-ever wireless player and its first competitor to the iPod touch and Zune. The device succeeds the original ZEN and includes a new, nine-point control pad key to using the device online over Wi-Fi: Wireless LAN versions can use a phone-style text entry system to chat online using Windows Live or Yahoo instant messaging. The network access also gives the X-Fi the ability to stream music and video directly from a home computer on the local network, although a rumored Internet streaming feature doesn't reach the finished product.
Creative ZEN X-Fi Leak
Creative's ZEN X-Fi player is still in progress and is being more directly targeted at Apple on both the hardware and software sides, says a slew of leaked information obtained by epiZENter. Spotted in an official product shot, the X-Fi changes the look of the original ZEN to an aluminum-and-chrome look believed to be drawing heavily on the visual appeal of the iPhone. According to leaked documents from the company's UK website, the new ZEN will also be Creative's first wireless player and will have a unique nine-point directional pad to take advantage of integrated Wi-Fi: users will have the option of instant messaging on Windows Live or Yahoo Messenger with a phone-style system for typing without either a touchscreen or a full QWERTY keyboard.
Hynics Small 32GB Flash
Hynix today unveiled a new upgrade to its flash memory that it hopes will dramatically improve the capacity of portable media players and other flash-bound devices. The company's version of three-bits-per-cell technology lets the company stack data to offer as much as 32 gigabytes of data into a tighter space. Despite the capacity jump, the 32GB chip occupies 30 percent less area than a more typical two-bits-per-cell flash chip, the company says. The space would allow a single chip to hold as many as 8,000 average-size MP3 tracks.
ZEN Share Scrapped
Creative has for now shelved its plans to develop a Wi-Fi capable player, the company's Nordic product manager Jan Hvidberg has revealed in an interview. The senior official confirms the one-time existence of the ZEN Share but says that there were "technical complications" developing the player that prompted the company to drop the project. The executive doesn't rule out the possibility of a future player with wireless but for now shelves hopes of an immediate release.
Creative ZEN Xi-Fi Rumor
Creative's answer to the iPod touch and Zune has had details firmed up in its development, says a new, purported leak to epiZENter. The player once known as the ZEN Share is now said to have been changed to ZEN X-Fi to turn attention to the player's sound quality. While Wi-Fi is still a defining feature, the future jukebox now appears likely to include the Crystalizer used in other Creative devices to auto-enhance sound quality by filling in audio detail lost to compression.
Creative Selling HQ
Creative has revealed that it will sell its Singapore company HQ for $180 million. The company says it plans to remain at the building but will release actual ownership of the location to an unnamed buyer. Under an agreement signed for the transfer, Creative will remain in the building and lease it for at least five years; the option will exist for two extensions of three and then two years if the company prefers to stay. The new terms will generate a $144 million profit on the building over the course of the next five years.
Creative ZEN Touch Rumor
Creative may finally be launching into touchscreen media players with its rumored ZEN Share player, say tips from alleged insiders. While the name is no longer certain, the device is claimed to be the first to rely on touch navigation. The new player would also break ground as the first Creative player to sport the company's X-Fi sound processing hardware, which helps restore missing detail from the compressed music files most likely to be used on a portable device.
Creative ZEN at 150
Creative has begun aggressive steps to fight against the iPod nano and other low-cost flash players by offering major discounts for all low-end versions of its ZEN media player. The company has dropped the price of its more popular 8GB ZEN to $150, bringing it to the same price as the 4GB Apple player despite the added storage, a larger 2.5-inch screen, and potential expansion through an SD card slot. Other, smaller players have dropped to prices of $80 for a 2GB model and $100 for a 4GB version, which differ only in storage.
Creative ZEN Share Tip
Creative will finally join companies such as Apple and Microsoft in offering a wireless music player, say some reported insiders privy to the details. Purportedly named the ZEN Share, the device will use Wi-Fi for its network connection. Most details are unavailable, though the name directly points to a sharing ability likely based on that of the Zune. The Microsoft player allows users of similar players to share tracks over a peer-to-peer wireless network and wraps songs in a temporary copy protection system to prevent trading of copyrighted tracks.
Creative MuVo T200
In addition to its new ZEN Stone players, Creative this week has also introduced the MuVo T200. It follows in the steps of the ZEN Stone Plus and adds a screen to its T100 predecessor. The color LCD gives listeners a chance to view track information and also enables features that were previously impossible on the earlier device, such as FM radio and voice recording with an integrated microphone.
Creative Xdock HD and Zens
Creative today offered a minor updated for CES with new versions of its basic ZEN Stone players and a reworking of its Xdock cradle for iPods. The Zen Stone with Speaker and ZEN Stone Plus with Speaker are unusual among very small players for their namesake speaker built into the back; the output provides unusually strong audio without the need for headphones, Creative claims. The basic Stone also holds more music than before, carrying 2GB of AAC, MP3, WMA, and Audible tracks.
Creative ZEN V Video Leak
Creative is starting the year with a a new video-capable ZEN V, an unintentional leak shows. The company's US download page reveals the existence of a device nicknamed the ZEN V Video, complete with available firmware updates. No technical information is listed for the player, though a video-capable ZEN V is expected to require a larger screen and a higher capacity than the current model, which tops out at a 1.5-inch display and 8GB of storage. Larger-size ZEN players already reach 32GB of flash memory.
Creative ZEN Stone Plus 4G
Fulfilling predictions, Creative has begun shipping a 4GB version of the ZEN Stone Plus. The player has all the dimensions of the entry-level ZEN Stone but holds the same storage as many larger players. 1,000 typical songs fit on the device, Creative boasts. It also adds a feature absent from earlier models, supporting AAC songs (including those from iTunes Plus) in addition to MP3 and WMA. Battery life is the same at 12 hours.
Creative 32GB ZEN Official
(Updated with US launch info) Creative today became the first mainstream firm to launch a 32GB media player using flash memory instead of a rotating hard disk, outperforming Apple and similar firms that remain at 16GB. Ending a series of leaks, the company's ZEN 32GB reaches its capacity while weighing just 2.3 ounces and sharing the same surface area as a credit card, Creative says. Its battery life is also long at 30 hours of music and five hours of video; the extra space allows it to hold as many as 8,000 standard-quality tracks or 120 hours of video clips. An SDHC slot allows dropping 8GB or more of storage into the player when it runs low on free space.
Creative 32GB ZEN Leak 2
Creative has once again unintentionally confirmed its plans to launch a 32GB ZEN player, this time according to an unintentional slip-up on the company's US website. The jukebox maker directly references to 32GB of flash storage both at its overview and specifications pages and explains the impact of the extra memory: the unannounced model will hold up to 8,000 songs or 120 hours of video, Creative says. It would continue to support SDHC cards for more than 4GB of extra storage.