By Richard Menta 7/18/05
The Personal Media Player (PMP) market is still a modest one, even with the success of Sony PSP movie titles, but it is also a high growth area and one where the ubiquitiuos iPod has yet to enter. These are important points to Creative Technologies who watched their lead in the flash MP3 player market wither once Apple released the iPod Shuffle last January.
The rumor mill has coughed up Creative's latest project, the Zen Vision. First sighted for sale online in Australia by DAP Preview the new player offers a nice update to the Zen Portable Media Center, Creatives first PMP unit. MP3Direct.com.au, the Aussie site that released the pics of the item too early has since pulled it from their listings. Still, it should see a formal announcement soon, both in Australia and here in the states.
Creative Zen Vision
The unit is 4.9 x 2.9 x 0.8-inches, not far from the 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.63 inch dimensions of the audio only iPod. The Zen Vision weighs in at 8.1 ounces, decent for a media player thanks to a magnesium-alloy case. The Zen Vision is powered by a user removable Li-ion battery. The ability to change batteries is a great option as these power sources rarely have a lifespan as long as the rest of the player.
The unit sports a 30GB hard drive and supports the MP3, WMA, WAV, MPEG 4, WMV, DIVx and XviD formats. The Zen Vision also shows JPG and TIFF photographs. The 3.7-inch VGA (640 x 480) 262k color screen display is another promisiong feature of the unit.
A CompactFlash slot allows for extended storages as well as convenient transfer of large files (assuming you have other electronic toys that use CompactFlash and not one of its myriad of competitiors). Voice recording and an FM tuner round out the feature set, though The Register notes that the FM tuner will not record broadcast radio. Odd and myopic if true.
No selling price on the Creative Zen Vision since it technically does not exist yet, but figure the price tag will be somewhere just slightly north of the standard iPod.
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