Creative enters MP3 player market

Creative Technology, best known for its SoundBlaster audio cards, has entered the Internet music market with the launch of Nomad, an MP3 portable digital audio player.

Nomad comes in both 32MB and 64MB versions priced at $499 and $599 respectively and are expected to ship in Australia in mid-May, the company said. Both versions weigh 80 grams and include a FM tuner, a LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen for viewing artists' names and song titles, voice recording capability and a docking station for downloading files.

MP3, or Motion Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer 3, is a compression technology that makes it easy to download music over the Internet and store and replay it at nearly the same quality as audio CDs. The technology has rapidly emerged as the music download format of choice among Internet users and spurred a market for "MP3 players," like the Nomad.

The growth of MP3 rankles record companies, which have blamed the technology for contributing to the spread of unauthorised music copying on the World Wide Web.

The 64MB version of Nomad can store up to two hours of CD-quality music, or four hours of voice recording, Creative said. Nickel-metal hydride batteries enable up to 10 hours of continuous listening on the Nomad player, which is about the size of a deck of cards, the company said. Software called Nomad Manager handles the downloading and cataloguing of music files.

Using a product called the Creative Digital Audio Center, consumers can convert their own CD collections into MP3 files, the company said.

More information about the Nomad project is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.nomadworld.com/.

Creative Technology

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Creative Pacific

(02) 9906 8887

http://www.cppl.com.au

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