Talk to me InPerson ~ Creative Labs Zen MP3 Players Sound Blaster Card
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Talk to me InPerson




Creative trots out new portable video conferencing which,- it says, will save firms thousands of dollars at no cost to video quality.

FIRST it was Sound Blaster, then the Jukebox hard-disk MP3
. player.Now, Creative Technology is betting on its next big thing - InPerson.

With the new portable video conferencing device, "even if you don't want to travel there for a meeting, you can still be there in person", said Craig McHugh, president of Creative Labs, the United States arm of Creative.

Launched last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for $1,200, Creative is hoping that business users will go for its system instead- of the typical expensive boardroom ones that go for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The device will launch in Singapore and Asia next month.

"It may not be the first in the market, but we believe there has never been something like this in these features and price," said Craig.

InPerson lets a single user multi-conference with up to four users simultaneously and has TV-out capabilities so users can output video and audio to the larger screen.
At the press demonstration at its Jurong' headquarters last week, Craig showed off a video conference session with his staff in the US. InPer~ son's built-in microphone could clearly pick up Craig's voice - Craig and the device were at different ends of the long boardroom table. The video quality was also very smooth.

In the US, InPerson users must pay a US$15 (S$21) monthly service fee to use the video conference service and an additional US$5 per minute for three or more party conferencing.

This is necessary because a service provider needs to route and connect the video calls as well as maintain a database of customers. In the US, the service provider is Broadxent, a Creative subsidiary.

Effectively, this turns the hardware maker into a service provider with a renewable monthly income, a whole new ball game for the company. When InPerson is launched in Asia next month, the service provider will be a non-Creative partner, Craig added.
Craig also said that Creative has discontinued sales of its hard disk-based MP3 players at the end of last year and is now selling only flash-based players.
The switch, however, means that the prices of its MP3 players have dropped, and. this was a major contributing factor to its sales dip of about 19 per cent for the October to December 2007 - period over the same period in 2006.

But with flash prices falling, he expects to make up for the loss moving forward as Creative will be able to offer flash players with higher capacities of 16GB and 32GB.
Other new devices that Craig showcased last week during its quarterly financial briefing for the media include the Xdock HD dock for the iPod which upconverts iPod-quality video and audio to high-definition and CD quality, the TravelSound i80 travel speaker system for the iPod Nano and the new Creative Zen Stone MP3 with tiny but powerful built-in speakers.

"It may not be the first in the market, but we believe there has never been
something like this in these features and price."
- Craig McHugh, president of Creative Labs

Via Digital Life

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