Rock Around With Nomad Jukebox

LAS VEGAS (01/06/2000) - Creative Labs Inc. is set to shake, rattle, and roll over the portable digital audio player field with its unveiling here of two new compressed audio products: the Nomad Jukebox and the Nomad II MG.

On display at the Consumer Electronics Show, both programmable products include Universal Serial Bus support and are scheduled to be available this spring, when pricing will be announced.

The Nomad Jukebox is a multi-format audio player and recorder that weighs 14 ounces and looks like a portable CD player. It boasts 6G bytes of built-in storage space, enough room for 150 albums or 100 hours of music playback.

"People want more sound" than the one or two hours of play supported by most players, including the original Nomad units with 32M bytes of storage, notes Ken Fong, director of brand management and product marketing at Creative Labs.

Jukebox pricing is likely to be more than the $299 Nomad II, and "certainly won't be under $100," Fong says.

While the high-capacity Nomad Jukebox supports MP3, Windows Media, and WAV file formats, its digital signal processor lets you upgrade it to play any codec standard. Dual line-out connections can hook to a four-speaker system.

The Nomad Jukebox has an on-screen display so you can search your library of 150 albums. It comes with Oasis Manager, Nomad's desktop music manager.

"We're developing an infrared signal for remote control," Fong says.

"Eventually, this could sit in your living room and house your whole music collection."

Nomad II MG is a smaller, sleeker version of the Nomad II, previously announced but not yet shipping. Like the Nomad II, Nomad II MG has 64M bytes of storage, an FM tuner, a USB connection, and upgradeable firmware, but it comes in a small magnesium case like the original Nomad. Both devices have playback and voice-recording capabilities for up to four hours of dictation, messages, or personal notes.

"Nomad II is for the active person," Fong says. Scheduled to ship in January, the Nomad II has a curvier design and larger button controls than the Nomad and comes with a wired remote.

"The Nomad II MG has a similar design to the Nomad and comes with a docking station," Fong says. Although docking stations are really necessary for a USB player, people also like using them to store their device, he adds.

Creative Labs also announced a wireless home network system that uses a 2.4GHz transmitter to transmit four channels of audio and video from your PC to your TV. Controlled by a wireless keyboard, the system lets you monitor your home with Web cameras and play DVDs, music, and games that run on your PC but appear on your TV. Creative Labs has not announced pricing, availability, or what wireless standard the system will use.

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