updated 08:45 am EDT, Thu May 3, 2007
Creative Zen Stone
Creative today made clear its ambitions by introducing the Zen Stone, its first completely screenless music player and the first aimed at beating the second-generation iPod shuffle. Claiming to be even simpler than the Apple device, the Stone is loaded through drag-and-drop file transfers. It's also more intelligent, Creative says: the device can recognize folders and will let the owner skip between them to limit in-order or random play to a particular album or playlist. Music is supported in MP3, WMA, and WAV as well as Audible audiobooks.
The Stone comes with 1GB of storage and will ship in six different colors by May 14th at a price of $40; it should be followed in July by the TravelSound Zen Stone (also $40), a black- or white-colored portable speaker system which provides stereo music for 20 hours on a pair of AAA batteries. Accessories will include a silicone skin with a built-in clip to match the portability of its iPod rival, a keychain case attachment, and an armband.