Creative used to be a huge, huge name
in the audio world. If we're being generous, it still has a rather large presence in the audio landscape, but it's not nearly the beast it once was. By and large, integrated audio solutions have grown sophisticated enough to be satisfactory for most, and few are springing for dedicated sound boards
the way they used to. With that, Creative has had to dip its toes into other markets
in an effort to make up for lost ground, and while its efforts in the digital audio player market have largely failed (thanks to the iPod, of course), this effort may be one worth paying attention to.
According to reports, Creative could be readying a working model of its first-ever e-book reader. At least behind the scenes, the device is being called the MediaBook, and while there's no real showing of what it'll look like, we're told that it will feature a touch panel, SD memory card slot, text-to-speech and Internet capabilities. It'll run atop Creative's own Zii technology, though it's hard to tell exactly how important that'll be in the grand scheme of things.
Word has it that the company is speaking with ten publishers around the globe in hopes that they'll provide book support for the device--after all, something like this is fairly worthless without a lot of backing from those with rights to texts. The MediaBook will aim to be some sort of multimedia-tablet, something maybe like Apple's rumored device. The Kindle, as you know, is just a reader; this could possibly dabble in a few other areas in order to make it more flexible as an electronic handheld.
Details beyond this are light, and we're betting that we won't hear anything official from Creative until CES 2010 rolls around. Still, the company is already quite late to the game, and it's hard to tell if the market won't already be saturated by the time it gets around to shipping this. Who knew that the great battle of 2010 would be for e-reader market share? A wild world we live in, ain't it?