Creative pitches Zen against third-gen iPod Nano
Apple announcement next week?
Creative has pre-empted Apple's anticipated announcement of a widescreen iPod Nano with a similarly spec'd tiny media player of its own. The new Zen is also Creative's first device to support AAC-encoded songs.
Creative's Zen: watch out, third-gen Nano
The 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2cm Zen packs in 4, 8 or 16GB of Flash storage, ready not only for AAC tracks, but MP3, WMA and WMA DRM audio files; MPEG 4, WMV and DivX video; and JPEG photos, all rendered in the player's 2.5in, 16.7m-colour screen.
And if you find the Zen you chose has too little memory for your needs, you can add more through the player's SDHC card slot.
The Zen incorporates an FM tuner and the inevitable microphone. Creative claimed the built-in battery yields five hours' video playback or 25 hours' music listening.
Apple's new Nano is believed to look like a shrunken standard iPod, albeit in a range of coloured cases. The iPod itself will take on the looks of the iPhone. Both are expected to be announced next week.
Available soon, the Zen will be priced at £100 ($201/€147) for the 4GB model and £140 ($281/€206) for the 8GB version. The 16GB player's price has yet to be set. The Zen will be shown at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin later this week.
It's not necessary to have an "ugly battery" compartment with user-replaceable batteries. My Sandisk player has just such a user-replaceable battery and the back of the device is firmly held in place with a couple of screws. It's a trifle thicker than an iPod nano, but there is no technical reason why batteries shouldn't be user-replaceable. It's a marketing decision with only very minor cost savings of not making the devices user-replaceable. Of course it would be nice to be able to use a generic size of Lithium-ion rechargable batteries (does anybody know how many hundreds - or is it thousands - of proprietary Lithium-ion battery formats there are out these for MP3/media players, Laptops,. Phones, PDAs, cameras, camcorders etc.? If anything guarantees long term obsolense it must be that; if we can have standardised NiMH formats, why not more take up of generic Lithium-Ion formats; alright, I know the real answer to that one...)
I love my Creative Zen Micro, but...
Why do Creative not support OSX? Getting my tunes organised on the Micro has been a nightmare, made easier by the excellent XNJB (with iTunes support). Now that my Micro has given up the ghost, I'm buying a new device and got very excited about this new model because it would mean I wouldn't have to buy an iPod.
But alas, still no OSX software support so getting tunes and video on the thing is impossible. Looks like a 6th gen iPod for me...
@Peter: not sure what you mean, RockBox will run on some (most) models of recent iPod...
Replaceable battery. Why?
Personally I don't see the need to have an easily replaceable battery in this type of device. I've got a 1st gen iPod with original battery, a second gen iPod (used in car and on holidays) and 1st gen mini (used by wife) also both with original batteries and a 2nd gen shuffle (used for daily wearable music). Apart from the original iPod (whose hard disk failed after many years of continuous use) all the others still get used by various people in various places and all run fine. I even bought a replacement battery for the second gen iPod after using it for a couple of years (because it was only a fiver), just in case it died but18 months or so after buying the battery I've still not needed to fit it 8-)
Now I agree it should be easy to recycle gadgets but having user replaceable batteries typically means an ugly battery compartment and dodgy contacts that can fail (how many mobile phones just turn off when in your pocket due to vibration??).
Let's hope for an open design
Let us hope it uses chips that have freely available datasheets, and doesn't use encryption on its software (like apple does). Why? To have a chance to get RockBox (www.rockbox.org) on it. Then it will play whatever format you like :)
Built in battery
One of the reasons I bought a (Creative) Zen Nano was user replacable standard AAA battery and the line in function. One of the reasons I didn't buy, and will never buy an iPod is because it has a user unfriendly battery. I like most of the features mentioned but with that built in battery I am going to stick with my lovely little Zen Nano. Next version might be interesting!?