Creative brings Portable Media Center to Middle East

Singaporean firm Creative Technology has launched its Zen Portable Media Center in the region. Designed to play audio and video files on the move, the device runs Microsoft’s Windows Media Center OS and features a 3.8-inch colour screen.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 30, 2004

Creative Technology has launched its Zen Portable Media Center (PMC) in the Middle East. The all-in-one media player features a 3.8-inch colour screen and its 20GB capacity means it can hold up to 85 hours of video or up to 9,000 songs. "We were the first to bring the portable media centre to the world, and no MP3 player on the market today compares to it," said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative Technology Ltd. "We added a colour screen to our pocket-sized player so that people can share digital photos, slide shows, movies and music wherever they go. The Zen PMC is super easy and fun to use from the moment you turn it on because the interface is so simple, yet if offers the user so many options." Creative’s Zen PMC first premiered earlier this year at the U.S. Consumer Electronics Show (CES), when Microsoft supremo Bill Gates introduced the product in his keynote address. The player went on to win a 'Best of CES' award. Although the device rather resembles handheld game platforms such as Sony’s PSP, Creative staff today confirmed that it is designed as a multimedia player rather than a dual-role product. The pocket-sized player runs the Media Center edition of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Though it cannot record direct from a TV source, as a PC with a TV card can, it is able to output to a TV thanks to its TV-out jack. The Zen PMC's fast USB 2.0 connection and Media Player 10 Auto Sync feature mean users can transfer MP3 and WMA format music files and MPEG, AVI and Divx format video files from their PC to the PMC easily and quickly. This gives users the option of watching PC-recorded TV shows, downloaded movies or digitised home movies wherever they are in the world. The device comes bundled with Windows Media Player 10 software which, in addition to featuring Auto Sync, is used to transcode audio and video files found on a user’s PC into Windows Media Video (WMV) format for use by the PMC. The Zen PMC is powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and also includes a protective case that doubles as an adjustable stand. The Zen will retail in the region for $499. Creative staff also today confirmed that a 5GB version of the firm’s Nomad MuVo MP3 player will be launched in the region over the next few weeks. In addition, today’s press event showcased the firm’s Prodikeys DM Value keyboard, a standard QWERTY keyboard combined with a 37-key MIDI keyboard and aimed squarely at budding music makers. Products such as the Nomad player and the new PMC are seen as important by Creative as the ‘Personal Digital’ sector of its product range continues to grow apace. According to George Ng, general manager, Creative Middle East, this section of the firm’s product range is expanding rapidly and last year accounted for 18% of Creative's revenue, compared to just 9% in 2001. Creative’s marketing manager for the Gulf region, Jordan Lee, and the firm’s Gulf sales manager, Winston Tan, were both introduced at today’s event. Ng told ITP.net that Creative will open a Dubai office "before Christmas" in order to expand its regional marketing reach and better support Middle East partners such as distributors Ashley LLC and Trigon Computers. "This office will be the base of our Gulf, Africa and Central Asia operations," explained Ng.

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