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back to article Creative pitches Zen against third-gen iPod Nano

Creative has pre-empted Apple's anticipated announcement of a widescreen iPod Nano with a similarly spec'd tiny media player of its own. The new Zen is also Creative's first device to support AAC-encoded songs. Creative Zen Creative's Zen: watch out, third-gen Nano The 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2cm Zen packs in 4, 8 or 16GB of Flash …

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Ben
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I see the recent market upheavel

seems to have helped the pound do extremely well against the pound.

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wot... no ogg?

So creative have started supporting aac, great. How much would it take to add in ogg vorbis support!? I've been screaming out for this since my nomad jukebox 2!

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No oggs again?

i'd better skip this one.

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Re: wot... no ogg?

They probably aren't supporting Ogg because the chipset in use doesn't support it. AAC, WMA and MP3 are supported by the main chip vendors, who funnily enough all want to sell their chips for use in iPods and WinCE based devices.

Ogg isn't supported by these chips, because the manufacturers of these devices dont demand it, and why would they? They all have their own proprietry DRM mechanisms to support in preference, as well as the key selling point, which is that the device plays MP3. Why spend money to support Ogg when everyone uses MP3 and the average consumer associates downloaded music with the MP3 brand?

The only people who really care about device support for Ogg are geeks, who to be honest will just hack the device with a firmware update anyway. The average consumer doesn't give a monkeys and it's the average consumer who predominantly are going to buy these things.

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Let's hope for an open design

Let us hope it uses chips that have freely available datasheets, and doesn't use encryption on its software (like apple does). Why? To have a chance to get RockBox (www.rockbox.org) on it. Then it will play whatever format you like :)

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Built in battery

One of the reasons I bought a (Creative) Zen Nano was user replacable standard AAA battery and the line in function. One of the reasons I didn't buy, and will never buy an iPod is because it has a user unfriendly battery. I like most of the features mentioned but with that built in battery I am going to stick with my lovely little Zen Nano. Next version might be interesting!?

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Replaceable battery. Why?

Personally I don't see the need to have an easily replaceable battery in this type of device. I've got a 1st gen iPod with original battery, a second gen iPod (used in car and on holidays) and 1st gen mini (used by wife) also both with original batteries and a 2nd gen shuffle (used for daily wearable music). Apart from the original iPod (whose hard disk failed after many years of continuous use) all the others still get used by various people in various places and all run fine. I even bought a replacement battery for the second gen iPod after using it for a couple of years (because it was only a fiver), just in case it died but18 months or so after buying the battery I've still not needed to fit it 8-)

Now I agree it should be easy to recycle gadgets but having user replaceable batteries typically means an ugly battery compartment and dodgy contacts that can fail (how many mobile phones just turn off when in your pocket due to vibration??).

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Replaceable Batteries

It's not necessary to have an "ugly battery" compartment with user-replaceable batteries. My Sandisk player has just such a user-replaceable battery and the back of the device is firmly held in place with a couple of screws. It's a trifle thicker than an iPod nano, but there is no technical reason why batteries shouldn't be user-replaceable. It's a marketing decision with only very minor cost savings of not making the devices user-replaceable. Of course it would be nice to be able to use a generic size of Lithium-ion rechargable batteries (does anybody know how many hundreds - or is it thousands - of proprietary Lithium-ion battery formats there are out these for MP3/media players, Laptops,. Phones, PDAs, cameras, camcorders etc.? If anything guarantees long term obsolense it must be that; if we can have standardised NiMH formats, why not more take up of generic Lithium-Ion formats; alright, I know the real answer to that one...)

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I love my Creative Zen Micro, but...

Why do Creative not support OSX? Getting my tunes organised on the Micro has been a nightmare, made easier by the excellent XNJB (with iTunes support). Now that my Micro has given up the ghost, I'm buying a new device and got very excited about this new model because it would mean I wouldn't have to buy an iPod.

But alas, still no OSX software support so getting tunes and video on the thing is impossible. Looks like a 6th gen iPod for me...

@Peter: not sure what you mean, RockBox will run on some (most) models of recent iPod...

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