A Bill Gates plug for Creative Technology's latest device has proved a timely spur for the Singapore company as it takes on the powerful Japanese groups in the highly competitive global electronics field.
The Microsoft chairman described Creative as his company's "favourite partner" as he talked about its Zen Portable Media Center (PMC) device during a keynote address at this month's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Zen PMC, capable of storing up to 50,000 digital images, 80 hours of video and 5,000 songs, was voted top product in the audio and visual category at the Las Vegas meet.
The award marked the second straight year the Singapore company, listed locally and on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, has won honours at what is regarded as the world's largest consumer electronics show.
The Zen PMC, which is slated to make its commercial debut in the second half of this year, is the latest device in Creative's strategy to move away from its PC-product base and into consumer electronics.