Bless Creative's soul for offering me some relief from my parched existence in the iPhone desert. Tomorrow, the company will officially announce yet another MP3 player for its already impressive Zen line. The latest family member is an enhancement to the ultrabasic Zen Stone and carries Creative's signature Plus at the end of its name. The Zen Stone Plus looks almost identical to its slightly older sibling, but with one important difference: a small, round OLED screen which sits to the left of the control pad. Sure, it's tiny and only displays in one color (blue, on a black background), but this minor addition allows for some desirable extras. The player comes loaded with an FM tuner, a voice recorder, an equalizer, a clock, and even a stopwatch.
You know, I do believe the Zen Stone Plus could end up being a near-perfect workout companion. And, apparently, Creative has read my mind. The company will also be offering a variety of sporty accessory options, including my personal favorite: a wristband ($14.99) that "doubles as a watchband for the clock and stopwatch." That sounds pretty rad to me--I can only hope Creative took headphone cable length into consideration. In addition, Creative will offer a protective silicone case for the player, which will be available in five different colors and includes a clip ($14.99 for a three-pack), and an armband, which will come with one of the silicone cases ($14.99). Another unique accessory--a key chain with a case attached--will sell for $12.99.
The Zen Stone Plus, which is expected to ship next month, will have 2GB of built-in flash memory. Like its Plus-less predecessor, the player supports MP3, WMA (purchased, but not subscription), and Audible, and it comes in six flavors: white, black, pink, blue, red, and what Creative insists on calling green. (Am I crazy? It looks yellow to me.) The estimated street price for the device is a quite reasonable $69.99.