Zen fans have been looking forward to the next big thing from Creative. These fans clamored for a Zen Vision:M replacement which is, in my opinion, the best blend of MP3 players and PMPs to date. Creative’s last biggest release, the Zen, didn’t seem to hush this cry for something new, because it couldn’t yet natively play high resolution XviD/DivX files, failed at integrating the SD slot, and had cost-prohibitive 30GB+ capacities.
The brand new Zen X-Fi is basically a refreshed version of the Zen, but with added wireless features and X-Fi sound enhancement. Will this be enough, though, to satisfy the Zen fans who have been patiently waiting for Creative’s latest addition to the family?
While at CES I prodded some of the representatives for some info on the new Zen. When I asked them for info on the new hard drive wireless player they gave off tell tale signs there was something to hide. While I’m not so sure about the hard drive part of it now since a reader got an interesting response from Creative tech supports stating that hard drives are on their way out. We do know now that it is indeed wireless thanks to some inside info Epizenter picked up stating that it will be released in March.
I have my fingers crossed for the following: native support for divx and h.264 over 320×240 resolutions, no touch screen, uninhibited sharing, and 80GB 160GB hard drives. That’s my short wish list.
What is on your Zen Share wish list?
The 605 is Archos’ new fifth generation flagship PMP that crams nearly every feature one could want into a PMP. They have even offered a few different capacities including a flash version with expandable SDHC memory that can add up to 32GB of flash memory when those capacities become available. The 800×480 pixel screen with a 24bit (16.7 million colors) screen looks fantastic at any viewing angle.
It sounds like the 605 is the ultimate PMP. Well… almost. While the 605 has a thorough feature set and performs very well, the interface needs to be completely overhauled. Archos, fire your interface designers and start over, then I may be able to call the 605 the ultimate PMP.
Read on for the details…
So now that Toshiba is done with the Zune and Microsoft is on their way to making their own gear, they decided to continue with the Gigabeat series. Microsoft are Toshiba are still good friends considering the new Gigabeat will be running Windows Embedded (R.I.P. Windows Portable Media Center).
From the FCC documents we know that this version of the Gigabeat will be rocking b/g Wi-Fi and a 2.4” QVGA 320×240 LCD screen. It will also measure in at 54 x 85.6 x 9.9 mm (2.1 x 0.4 x 3.4 in.) and weigh 70g. The document also states that the device will have 4GB of flash memory. Likely this will change since consumers are already screaming for 8GB flash players.
Photos and internal shots have been omitted from these documents at Toshibeas request, but don’t sweat it, we will have one cracked open for you as soon as we get our hands on one.
[FCC via dapreview]
The most descriptive word we can use to describe the Cowon Q5 portable media player is “wow.” Just plain wow.
Immediate stand-out features of the 5.5″ x 3.5″ x 0.8″ device are the 5″ touchscreen (800 x 480), Windows CE 5.0 Pro operating system, DVR capabilities, and Bluetooth, WiFi, and HSDPA connectivity. By comparison, the 40GB/60GB storage capacity, optional GPS, integrated speakers, FM radio, line-in recording, and extensive codec support (including Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, DivX, and XviD) almost seem rather boring. Almost.
Slated for U.S. availability by June 2007, the Cowon Q5 is priced at $500 and $550 for the 40GB and 60GB models, respectively. Archos who?
[LAPTOP via Engadget]
Three former executives from Rio, iRiver, and MusicMatch are teaming up on a brand new digital audio player. Even though we know very little about this player, with a Rio and iRiver bloodline, it is definitely something to keep an eye on. The upcoming device will take full advantage of the wireless feature bringing up direct downloads, internet radio, a social network, and device-to-device sharing. The company is in stealth mode at the moment but will appear again in a few months to show us some goods.
Here are some specs deduced from job postings on Broadband Instruments’ website. The player will run embedded linux or Windows CE. It will support MP3, AAC, H.264, MPEG 2, and MPEG4. It will also feature USB-OTG and Bluetooth. Sounds good. We’ll keep you posted.
[Wired via Engadget]
This is definitely my favorite player at CES this year. The design is super sexy and the GUI is smooth and lag free. Jenn reported on this earlier, but here’s a quick recap of its major features: WiFi, Bluetooth, 30GB, direct internet downloads, and support for MP3, WMA, MPEG, and WMV.
The player is still far from final and won’t be released until sometime in Q2 2007. They have yet to choose a name and even brand for the product. It could be AOL, it could be Haier, but I think it would be best to create a new brand. AOL still carries a stigma and Haier is not known in the US.
Read on for my initial impressions, more photos, and a video demo of the GUI.
This is a surprise. At CES today, AOL and China-based manufacturer Haier rolled out their upcoming 30GB Smartscreens Media Device, a portable media player equipped with a laptop-esque touch pad, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
The all-metal PMP is “about the size of an iPod” and supports MPEG-4 and WMV videos and likely the typical set of audio formats (MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM), including those purchased and downloaded directly onto the device from the likes of Rhapsody, Napster, and Yahoo! over a wireless 802.11g connection.
An unnamed Internet-based service obviously (though unofficially) provided by AOL will somehow offer music suggestions while users of the device are listening to their tunes. How this will work is unclear, though we hope the option to be notified of song titles, albums, and other artists the system thinks we’d be interested in can be turned off. The device will also support free streaming Internet radio stations, which we assume will be exempt from all the suggestion-receiving fun.
Under the hood of the Smartscreens Media Device is an open-source application framework, codenamed SmartScreens, created by Tegic Communications (an AOL company) that runs on top of the unit’s operating system. If you can’t wait until the device is released later this year (second or third quarter), hop on over to SmartScreens Mobile to check out a video of the player in action.
[via PC Magazine]
Are your ears too special for your “low-end” MP3 player? Slim Devices, maker of the Squeezebox, has introduced the Transporter for your home audio set up. This audio delight is packed with a 120dB signal-to-noise ratio AKM AD4390 digital audio converter for some serious unadulterated sound. To put that in perspective, typical consumer grade audio products have a SNR or below 100dB. The Transporter will stream the major codecs like WAV, AIFF, MP3, WMA and FLAC from a computer or NAS over WiFi.
Too many acronyms and techno mumbojumbo? All you need to know? …you can pre order it for $2k and get a free $400 squeeze box while you wait.
[Slim Devices via Engadget]