Creative launches small-capacity MP3 player

Creative is launching a small-capacity MP3 player that has the same capacity but the half price of Apple's Shuffle player. Known as the Stone, the new (US$56 player will be available in six glossy finishes: black, red, pink, blue, green or white and has a capacity of 1GB.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Apple's updated iPod Shuffle is available in white, pink, blue, green or orange. Its 1GB version costs AUD$119.

Depending on the bitrate chosen, the Zen Stone will be able to store up to 500 songs in MP3 or WMA (Windows Media Audio) formats, though this figure is at the low recording rate of just 64kbps. Creative says the built-in battery will last for 10 hours between charges. Creative is aiming the player at fitness fans such as those who enjoy a workout at the gym to skaters, snowboarders and free runners.

Just a couple of months ago, Creative's spokespeople led us to believe that the company seen as Apple's biggest rival in the MP3 player market "aren't really pushing MP3 players at the moment". Now, it seems,Creative was biding its time before coming back at Apple's redesigned, tieclip-sized Shuffle. The Stone even supports Audible books -- something that Apple iTunes site has offered for some time.

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Rosemary Haworth

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