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Creative, Dell prep iPod Mini rivals

Five colours? Pah! We're going to offer ten!

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Creative is preparing a second music player to challenge Apple's iPod Mini, even as Dell is gearing up to launch against it too, reports on the web suggest.

Creative's existing iPod Mini rival is the MuVo2, which it recently updated as the 5GB MuVo2 FM - offered in a range of pastel-colour casings.

According to a Gizmodo report, its second pitch will called the Zen Micro. Incorporating 5GB of hard disk storage - believed to come courtesy of Seagate, which launched its 1in product in June - the new player will ship in ten (bright this time) colours, if a picture of a promo sheet is to be believed.

The gadget provides 12 hours' of playback on a single charge, and includes an FM radio and voice recorder. The slightly curved shell sports a large LCD and moulded touchpad to enable one-hand operation. The unit measures 8.3 x 5 x 1.8cm, which makes it slightly shorter than the Mini, but a little thicker.

What strikes us from the Gizmodo picture is the very iPod-like user interface. So too is the price, apparently: €279 - just like the iPod Mini - and the facility for contacts and calendar synchronisation and display, according to one of the site's correspondents, citing details provided by Creative under non-disclosure agreement at a recent European press event.

The Zen Micro will ship on 18 November, apparently, after Dell ships its Pocket DJ5, a 5GB player set to ship for $199, below the Mini, which retails for around $249, according to an Engadget report. The DJ5 will be white - it's not known if it will ship in other colours too - and run for nine hours on a single charge, the site claims. It's due in a "few weeks". ®

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