Creative launches 8,000-song MP3 jukebox

Creative Technology Ltd. has released the latest version of its Nomad Jukebox digital audio player, featuring 20G bytes of hard disk storage, the equivalent of 8,000 songs, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

The US$399 Nomad Jukebox 3 connects to a PC via either SB1394 (Firewire) or USB 1.1 connections and can transfer more than one song per second. The player can also store, manage, and transport photo, text and video files, according to the statement.

The new Nomad can take any optical or analog input (CD, MiniDisc, cassette players and DAT format) and encode directly into MP3 or WAV format in real time without requiring pre-amplification. The Jukebox also supports Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, Creative said.

A scroller wheel enables users to quickly navigate through the content and create customized playlists. The Jukebox 3 can run for 22 hours on battery power alone, Creative said.

The Jukebox comes bundled with Creative's PlayCenter software for organizing songs and a file manager for dealing with non-music files.

Competitors for the Nomad Jukebox 3 include Apple Computer Inc.'s $499 10G-byte iPod, which enables users to store up to 2,000 CD-quality songs and includes software that adds the ability for iPod users to download and store contact lists with up to 1,000 names and addresses.

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