Creative to Launch “Zii Mediabook”

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Creative has revealed a piece of hardware it’s calling the Zii Mediabook, which it’s been suggested will combine an ebook reader with a portable media player.

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For now, relatively little is known about Creative’s upcoming hardware gambit, apart from the apparent intent to cross over the two different functionalities. The hardware itself boasts a form-factor that seems far closer to an ebook reader than Creative’s usual media players (the current Zen being perhaps the furthest thing we can imagine form it).

Epizenter is reporting that Creative is already engaged in talks with publishers, which seems to be the first step in getting an ebook reader ready to roll out. Still, with the ebook reader market already starting to look more than a little crowded, Creative will have its hands full just trying to meaningfully differentiate itself from its competitors. Certainly, if the Zii is indeed also a media player, that task could be made far easier.

Convergence has long been the one big thorn in the side of ebook readers; while many seem happy enough to give up on physical books (that’s always been the hardest part for me), it seems as though the addition of “yet another” device to the array of equipment people need to keep track of is a fairly pronounced impediment to ereader adoption among certain groups. That convergence has long been seen as the biggest reason for the success of the Stanza ebook reading app for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, despite the fact that it’s harder on batteries than an indendent e-ink based reader would be.

It’ll be interesting to see just how well Creative manages to do with the Zii Mediabook, if indeed it ever makes it to market. For now, you can read more at Epizenter, which has a lot more detail on the upcoming device.

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