Zen Stone is just the beginning...

Creative talks cool earphones, new players and X-Fi

There will be new products between now and Christmas at all levels of the MP3 market. Ranging from the entry level with the Zen Stone, all the way up to high end stuff that perhaps hasn't been seen before. We've got some interesting stuff lined up to release between now and Christmas.

Any technology product is eventually going to be replaced. So there will be new MP3 products across our range between now and Christmas.

Tech: How do you see the PC sound market going in the near future? Lots more people have 7.1-channel onboard sound these days, how does Creative fit into things?

JM: Motherboard audio has been developed over the years to the extent where it delivers 7.1 audio and again the less discerning customer will not actually appreciate the extra quality you can get from an add-in soundcard.

That's been a challenge, although we've still managed to maintain a relationship with our core market - gamers who do tend to appreciate the difference that good audio can make - but actually there has been an interesting development which is the launch of Microsoft's Windows Vista .

Vista, due to its architecture, has removed the ability for 99 per cent of games to actually communicate with your PC card audio. This is where alchemy comes in. A lot of Vista users have noticed that the sound quality that they were used to - even with motherboard audio - they don't get anymore. They don't get surround sound anymore. They don't get EAX environmental audio anymore. Every game since 1998 has supported EAX and we are accustomed to this quality. Games sound very flat without it.

X-Fi and Creative Alchemy is the only solution to this. It solves the problem. The game can now talk to the hardware again.

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