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Creative launches Neeon 'smallest' HDD MP3 player

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Creative launched its latest hard drive-based MP3 players on Friday. The new arrivals include the 5GB Zen Neeon, a 20GB version of its Zen Micro, this time simply dubbed the Zen, and a Zen-branded version of its MuVo V200.

Creative Zen NeeeeeeeeeeeeeonCreative claimed the Neeeon is the smallest hard drive-based player it has yet offered. The black 8 x 4.7 x 1.6cm, 75g shell contains a 5GB drive, FM radio, microphone and line-in port for direct-to-MP3 encoding. Unlike other HDD-based players the Neeeeon relies on drag and drop for track loading.

The unit features a basic two-line display, but users can select from seven backlight colours. Creative will offer further levels of customisation by selling a range of stickers to slap on the front of your Neeeeeon, much like the ones HP sells for its iPods. There are ten backplate colours to choose from too.

The black Zen, meanwhile, crams a 20GB HDD into a Zen Micro-style casing and offers a comparable feature set: Microsoft Outlook PIM data synchronisation, FM radio, voice recorder and the ability to be used as a generic external hard drive.

The Zen Nano Plus is, we think, the first Flash-based Zen - so far all Creative's Flash-based players have been branded Nomad or MuVo. It will ship in 512MB and 1GB versions, each offered in ten colours. The casing is pure MuVo V200, but with the Zen name instead. Features include FM radio, voice recorder and line-in facility.

All the new players can handle MP3 files, along with WMA tracks, with and without DRM protection. The Neeeeeeon adds Audible and WAV support, while the Zen can also work with WAV and IMA ADPCM files.

The Neeeeeeeon costs SGD329, which comes to $199/£108 at today's exchange rates, but is for the moment only available in Singapore. Likewise, the Zen comes in at SGD509 ($308/£167). Zen Nano Plus pricing was not disclosed. Creative could not provide UK/European availability and pricing information, but we understand the Neeeeeeeeon will be coming to Europe in due course. ®

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