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Creative launching iPod Nano rival

The upcoming Zen Style M300 music player offers many of the same features found in Apple's iPad Nano but also throws in Bluetooth and a microSD card slot for more capacity.

Creative's new Zen Style M300 music player
Creative's new Zen Style M300 music player Creative

Though most of its features mimic those of the iPod Nano, Creative's new Zen Style music player is trying to up the ante by including Bluetooth and a microSD card slot.

Available next month, the Zen Style M300 is Creative's latest attempt to carve out a bigger slice of the portable music player market.

The $79 device is a combination music, photo, and video player with a built-in FM radio and touch-control buttons to maneuver around the 1.45-inch screen. A built-in mic allows for voice recording.

The included Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity lets people listen to music through any compatible Bluetooth wireless headset as well as through Bluetooth wireless speakers. The microSD card slot can hold up to 32GB of music beyond the unit's internal storage space.

Creative is also touting the unit as a video player, but the feature requires you to transcode videos to a proprietary format. And even then, the 1.45-inch screen might be too small to truly enjoy movies, video clips, or TV shows.

For $79, the base unit provides 4GB of internal storage space. An 8GB model costs $89; the 16GB runs $129. Creative is also offering less expensive Zen Style M100 models without the Bluetooth and FM radio, with a 4GB version selling for $59 and an 8GB model for $69.

The Zen Style M300 (55x44x12mm) is slightly larger than Apple's iPod Nano (38x41x9mm), but is still more than small enough to carry in your pocket. Depending on the quality of the music played, Creative is promising around 20 hours of battery life on a single charge.

The Zen Style portable players will be available in mid-June from Creative's Singapore-based online store and in retail outlets in Singapore. No word yet as to when the unit might be available directly from retailers in the U.S. or other countries.