Ah Creative. Just as I am starting to write a blog entry that completely slams you and your ineffective ability to market your products, you show us another nugget of gadget goodness.
I will share my complaints before I go into their latest offering.
Creative has some top notch, quality products in the portable audio market. They have declared war on Apple and it’s dominating market share.
The Zen Touch is their main competitor to go head to head to the Apple iPod. I own this device and am very much an avid user. It has its drawbacks, though. You can only use the device as a storage medium if you have the proper driver installed, rather than making use of the generic USB Mass Storage device driver that all thumb drives use. There are not many options for organizing the audio files once they are loaded for listening. No folders. Playlists options are available but I find them to be more time consuming than really needed. I still love this player despite all this. It was an excellent value for the money I paid. These complaints are all very minor. In fact, the player got rave reviews from many sources. My main complaint about this player is not the player itself, but the fact that Creative has all but ignored it and failed to take advantage of it as an excellent product. There is next to no marketing pushing the Zen Touch and ZERO accessories made for it. There maybe some speakers or headphones you can use with it, but they are minimal and not tailored specifically for this product. The Zen Micro seems to be getting all of Creative’s love. The company has made a number of accessories for this smaller device and pushed it pretty hard for what they can do (which is nothing compared to Apple’s marketing campaign). Most of the accessories, though, are speakers from what I’ve seen. These are PORTABLE devices. What am I supposed to do with speakers on a subway? The only useful accessory I have seen is a pair of wireless headphones which use magnetic induction to send its signal rather than radio frequency. But look, the dock only fits a Zen Micro. Go figure.
Among hideous rumors and reviews about a new Zen player that was just a bigger version of the Zen Micro, there was a rumor a couple days ago about a completely new player that looked like the equivalent to the current Zen Xtra (the biggie 60gb player). At first I was enraged at seeing this because they were going to make a second generation to a player that already had a second generation in the Zen Touch. It would have aggravated me even more had they called it the Zen Xtra. If they could do anything to blur their marketing image more, I’m not sure what that would be.
As I sat down, to write how this rumor had bothered me, I headed over to Engadget to get some background links (as you can tell) and I saw this post about the new Zen Sleek. It has a 20GB capacity, 16 hour battery life (a little better than average but not much), FM tuner, built-in mic recording and a decent interface. Not only that but it betters the iPod’s size by a hair.Creative, You are the company I hate to love. You entice me with your product, then you slap me in the face by putting your all behind a different product. Just as I start looking elsewhere you suck me back in with a new, highly tempting, quality product. I really hope the Zen Sleek will not be ignored in the way the Zen Touch was ignored. If the quality of this device lives up to its predecessors and accessories are put to market that are useful and plentiful this might be Creative’s golden goose. Assuming of course they can market it properly.
Buying from Creative can be like a bad relationship at times. You keep coming back for more, even when you’re pretty sure your going to be ignored and abused, but when times are good, you can’t think of anything else. So where do I pre-order my Zen Sleek?