In what was thought to be just another Annual General Meeting, Creative surprised many by announcing its plan of entering the e-book market. Displaying a working model of its first e-book reader - tentatively named the MediaBook (no, not the one above) - it features a touchscreen, text-to-speech function and an SD memory card slot. Running on the company's Zii Technology, the MediaBook will also be internet-enabled to give the user a multimedia experience.
Creative is already a late comer to the already crowded e-book market with products like Amazon's Kindle, Sony's e-reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook. But Creative hopes to differentiate itself by providing more than what the current e-books can offer. Describing the Kindle as "just another electronic device which displays books in text", the Creative's e-book will harness "videos, pictures, text and services in one device that supports a media-rich experience." said Mr Willie Png, Creative's VP of strategic business.
As of now, Creative is already in talk with 10 international and local publishers to provide content for the MediaBook. On the menu are fiction, newspaper, magazines, education materials and textbooks. Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) - Singapore largest publisher which publishes 17 newspapers and more than 100 magazines could be one of the local content provider. "We are discussing with Creative how SPH, as a significant content provider in Singapore, can provide what it has - stories, images, videos or radio programmes - for the e-reader."
Wow, would the MediaBook change the future for Creative? Unlike the current e-books that is available now in the market, the Creative's MediaBook seem to be an all-in-one multimedia tablet. Besides reading your e-books and newspaper on the device, you will also able to Facebook and Twitter on the go, watch videos and view photos on the large touchscreen. Now that's one device i will willing shell out money for. It has been a long time since Creative came up with anything relatively exciting (with the Zii EGG looking no where near at being hatched) and I think the MediaBook might be the product that changes everything for Creative.
Here's why. Creative is not new to the educational business in Singapore. It produces eletronic dictionary, educational software which are approved by the Ministry of Education in Singapore. With the MediaBook, the furture of Singapore's education landscape could be very different with every student uses the MediaBook which replaces the traditional textbooks. With the Media Development Authority (MDA) naming Creative as a partner of its "FutureBooks" initiative, it means that Creative will get support in funding and introductions to potential content providers. And by positioning it as an all-in-one device, anyone could find a need for the MediaBook. Think of it as a ZEN Vision W up-sized with a touchscreen and SD slot.
Tell us what you think of the MediaBook! Like it or hate it? Hit or Miss? We want to hear your thoughts on this!