Lately Creative might be best-known for getting bushwhacked by a series of patent infringement lawsuits from Apple after threatening the iPod with its so-called “Zen Patent.” But, you know, the company also makes these things called portable music players, and today it introduced the slim and sleek Zen Neeon 2, which proves the company doesn’t intend to stand still which it engages in what might be years of painful patent litigation with the Cupertino Mafia. And even better: Creative’s making a set of four Stik-On skins available for the Neeon 2 so you can customize the look of the player to match your style—so long as that style is Hip-Hop, J-Pop, Punk Rock, or Classical.
“Following the success of our very popular ZEN Neeon, we designed the ZEN Neeon 2 with the aim to offer users even more functions and customizability. Savvy users can now carry all their music, photos and videos in one ultra lightweight player wherever they go. Furthermore, trendy users can make bold fashion statements by mixing and matching the 5 new beautiful brushed metal backplate colours with the ever popular Creative Stik-On skins. There is no limitation to how users can express themselves through this versatile beauty,” said Joseph Liow, Creative VP and General Manager of Creative Labs Asia.
The Zen Neeon 2 is slim (12.5 mm thick), lightweight (50 grams) portable media player which combined music functions with an FM radio receiver plus photo and video capability. The Zen Neeon 2 supports MP3, WMA, and WAV audio (sorry, no support for AAC or songs purchased from iTunes), plus support for showing JPEG images and transcoded AVi video on its built-in 1.5-inch, 128 by 128 pixel screen. Sure, that resolution isn’t going to make you give up your high-definition TV—or even a tiny, handheld portable TV—but it’s enough to show a silly cell phone video to your friends or have folks squeal about how delightfully cute your progeny/pet/significant other might be. And you’ll want the videos to be short anyway, since the Zen Neeon 2 is available in 1, 2 and 4 GB capacities. The unit claims to offer up to 20 hours of audio playback and 8 hours of (short, remember?) video playback on a single charge of its embedded lithium-ion polymer battery. The unit also sports a built-in mic for voice recording, line input, built-in EQ (eight presets, five-band custom EQ), and USB 2.0 connectivity.
Creative says the Zen Neeon 2’s will be available this month at $199 for the 1 GB version or $269 for the 2 GB version—both sizes will be available in light orange, blue, pink, silver, and black. The $309 4 GB edition will be available in black or silver “at a later date” (presumably when flash memory gets cheap enough Creative isn’t losing money on each unit). And, if you’re realy curious, the Stik-on skins are $15.90 a pack.