IFA 07: Liveblogging Creative press conference – new Zen!

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creative%20zen.jpgSummary: Lots of X-Fi wireless excitement but the big guns were launched ten minutes from the end in the form of the brand new Creative Zen player (Zen Vision M in miniature, essentially). Read on!

11:30 – Telling us about the history of the company in pictures. I can’t tell you how exciting Soundblaster chips from 1989 are not – especially in pictures. Oooh, daring, a picture of an iPod and some Apple-baiting plus a claim that the interface of the iPod was invented by Creative.

11:40 – X-Fi Xdock Wireless – “improving the sound experience of the iPod”. X-Fi crystalliser enhances normal MP3 quality – there’s a demonstration coming up…

11:45 – Showing us how to stop bass get “soggy and lifeless”. There is a noticeable difference in crispness (I’m not sure I’d miss it if I didn’t know the difference, but it’s a convincing demonstration).

So the Xdock wireless transmitter uses the crystalliser, and then upmixes the audio to surround sound, encoded into a digital signal. Can output in stereo, then amplifier detects digital signal, creates centre channel and it creates surround sound. So from a small dock you can get a whole room of impressive surround sound and clarity.

11:50 – PC connections, speaker jacks. So you can either connect it up or beam it wirelessly around the living room and indeed through walls and floors around the house. SVideo and composite out plus digital out. You can upmix movie sound as well as music. More demonstrations and it honestly is an impressive difference.

11:52 – How to beam sound all over the home. You simply plug in a wireless receiever into any system that you want to receive it and beam at will from your dock.

11:55 – Xmod Wireless – Streaming music from your PC, laptop etc. Can stream from the Internet, WMP etc. Same principle as the Xdock, because you can stream all around the house. Can control playback on the PC etc through the remote control.

Can plug in auxiliary socket too – transmit vinyl around the house if you like!

11:58 – GigaWorks T20 speakers have been used to showcase sound. Good quality sound without a subwoofer. They are being replaced by the T40, and the aim is to “put the power of the bass into the speakers themselves and not have to deal with the subwoofer” – smaller, slimmer unit. Yellow bullseye design is a bit Scandyna / Fatman, but much more boxy.

SoundWorks radios also being pushed out across Europe as Creative. Soundworks 745 – design is the same as the 735, previous model. CD player is revamped to read WMA and MP3, and now it has an additional dock accessory for your iPod. It is a “table radio”, not a big system.

12:01 – Aurvana Headphones will have X-fi technology imbedded in them + noise cancelling.

12:02 – MP3 players. Announcing today a new generation of Zen MP3 players. Took the concept of the Zen Vision M and made it the size of a credit card. Called “the Zen”. Starts shipping in the next 10 days. 4GB, 8GB, 16GB PMPs – music and video. Controls to the right, screen to the left. Extremely slim and pocket-sized. WMA, DivX, xvid among the supported formats. Screen is the same as the Zen Vision M, 16.7 million colours. Built in SD card slot so the capacity can be expanded. FM radio, microphone, clock radio and calendar all built in. Range of accessories will also be available. You can play any non-DRM Apple format too, e.g. AAC etc.

Alexandra Roumbas