It’s great when companies try to outdo one another. It’s a little more confusing when they try to outdo themselves (though it’s still great).
This is what Creative looks ready to do with the new Neeon range (that’s how it’s spelt) which appears to be on an unavoidable collision course with the Zen Micro. Both feature 5GB hard drives, but the Neeon will be smaller (47 x 78 x 16mm verses 51 x 84 x 19mm) and considerably lighter (75g to 108g) while matching its battery life (16 hours). There’s still no OGG file support, but the usual MP3 and WMA formats will work and file transfers are handled via USB2.0.
Unlike the Zens (which operated via a touchpad) you navigate a Neeon via the jog wheel on the side and visually, while the Zens are available in a range of different colours, the Neeons will be available in a range of different skins. These peel on and off the front of the player which is a neat trick, even if the current designs look to have come from the mind of an acid laced Laurence Llewellyn Bowen. They’re just hideous!
I’m sure upon release (no date or pricing as yet) there will be many more skins to choose from, but having spent an hour in Photoshop with the current crop you’ll forgive me now if I leave you to dash off to the loos…