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Struggling Singaporean MP3 Company Creative Technology is about to launch a brand new MP3 payer which is a dead set rip off of the iPod.

As they say if you can’t beat them join them and this is exactly what Creative is doing by bring out a player that is trying to trade on the design success of Apple. Whether consumers buy it is a different thing as to date Creative has had little success up against Apple.

Creative’s latest offering is its alternative to Apple’s video-enabled fifth-generation iPod. Creative is expected to announce the player tomorrow, but the company’s Japanese division appears to have jumped the gun and detailed the machine today. Dubbed the Zen Vision:M, the skinny player combines music and video playback with photo viewing, all on its 2.5in, 262,144-colour, 320 x 240 LCD.

The unit measures 10.4 x 6.2 x 1.9cm into which Creative has squeezed a 30GB hard drive and a rechargeable battery capable of running for four hours in video-playback mode and 14 hours when pumping out music, Creative claimed.

Music formats supported include MP3, WMA with DRM and WAV. The Vision:M will play MPEG 1, 2 and 4, WMV 9, Motion JPEG, DivX 4 and 5, and XviD video files. Photos need to be JPEGs. The player has a recordable FM tuner on board, though this may not make it to all territories, we understand.

The unit weighs 166g, compared to the 30GB iPod’s 136g. The two products are pretty much the same size face-on, but the iPod is about half as thick. That said, the Vision:M plays video for longer: four hours to the iPod’s two.

Interestingly, Creative has equipped the Vision:M with a slim connector, no doubt in the hope of encouraging the formation of an ecosystem of compatible accessories of the kind that currently services iPod owners.


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