Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Creative Reveals Zen Vision

Top Tech News looks at the new Zen Vision M from Creative Technology that offers music listening and video viewing capabilities. The 30 GB player cost $329.99 and plays up to 4 hours of Xvid, WMV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and MJPEG video, can store up to 15,000 songs, and works music-subscription services such as Yahoo Music Unlimited, Napster To Go, and RealNetworks Rhapsody.

Yankee Group analyst Nitin Gupta said, "The latest Zen devices looks a lot like the iPod, but it can play more formats. It's still early to predict how big of a demand there will be for video on these types of players."

Ted Schadler at Forrester Research noted "manufacturers of the portable players, including Sony and its PlayStation Portable, as well as Apple and Creative, all are moving toward adding video capabilities to their portable devices." He said, "Creative is relying on the Microsoft digital-rights management, giving them access to content from an array of popular providers that are introducing video for these products."

Over at Technology News, Michael King at Gartner said, "The thing Creative doesn't have going for it is the ease of use, and the user interface ease of use of iPod and iTunes. That's really what iPod has going for it -- the iTunes integration and [content] distribution deals. That's why you don't see any competition with iPod/iTunes, and that's why I don't think you will anytime soon."

Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch noted Creative's positioning of its technical merits over the video iPod just might not be enough. He said, "Consumers have already said the iPod screen is good. So it's going to be hard to challenge [iPod] on technical merits." On the topic of content, he added, "It's going to be hard to challenge [Apple] on the whole, and the whole is where the content comes in."

King also emphasized the iPod's ease of use. "It comes down to user interface and integration," he said.