Creative's Nomad 3 Goes FireWire

Thanks Richard for the heads up on this one. The successor to the Creative Nomad Jukebox (or is it the Nomad II) was unveiled earlier this month at CES. The Nomad 3 is a jukebox player, but its name seems to suggest that it will also stand in as a replacement for the flash player that has been so successful for the company. Makes one wonder what Creative's future plans are in the ever-competitive flash portable arena.

The Nomad 3 looks very much like the older Nomad Jukebox and comes with a 20GB hard drive. The most notable feature about this unit is that it has added a FireWire port to go with the USB port for transfering files from PC to player. This addition is obviously an answer to the success of Apple's iPod, the first MP3 portable to use FireWire. The Nomad 3 will be the first player for the PC to offer this feature (unless the poeple at Apple release a Windows version of the iPod within the next couple of months).

The difference between the two ports? First, few PC owners have a FireWire port on their systems, which is why the Nomad 3 offers both. That said, you will transfer 20GBs a lot faster with the FireWire connection than with USB. It will take a USB connection around 16 hours straight to fill the Nomad 3 with music. The FireWire port will accomplish the same task in 40 minutes. That alone is compelling enough reason for a PC owner to spring $40 for a FireWire card.

The Nomad 3 is due to hit stores in April at a price of $399, the same as the Apple, which only comes with 5GB of capacity. Despite having four times more storage and a FireWire port to match the Apple, size is a crucial issue and may play against the Nomad 3. While it is certainly a competitive unit when compared with its Windows-capable brethren, it doesn't look to be an iPod killer. Fortunately for Creative, the iPod is Mac only - for now.

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