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Creative unveils Vision:M video iPod killer

Zen kit

Creative is about to launch its alternative to Apple's video-enabled fifth-generation iPod. Creative is expected to announce the player tomorrow, but the company's Japanese division appears to have jumped the gun and detailed the machine today.

Dubbed the Zen Vision:M, the skinny player combines music and video playback with photo viewing, all on its 2.5in, 262,144-colour, 320 x 240 LCD.

Creative Zen Vision:M

The unit measures 10.4 x 6.2 x 1.9cm into which Creative has squeezed a 30GB hard drive and a rechargeable battery capable of running for four hours in video-playback mode and 14 hours when pumping out music, Creative claimed.

Music formats supported include MP3, WMA with DRM and WAV. The Vision:M will play MPEG 1, 2 and 4, WMV 9, Motion JPEG, DivX 4 and 5, and XviD video files. Photos need to be JPEGs. The player has a recordable FM tuner on board, though this may not make it to all territories, we understand.

The unit weighs 166g, compared to the 30GB iPod's 136g. The two products are pretty much the same size face-on, but the iPod is about half as thick. That said, the Vision:M plays video for longer: four hours to the iPod's two.

Interestingly, Creative has equipped the Vision:M with a slim connector, no doubt in the hope of encouraging the formation of an ecosystem of compatible accessories of the kind that currently services iPod owners.

In Japan, at least, the Vision:M will retail for ¥39,800 ($329/£190), and will be offered in iPod-style white and black, and also in green. It goes on sale there mid-December. ®

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