Where Creative fails

I have always been a fan of Creative Labs. They have come up with great audio related products aimed at the general consumer, and at very affordable prices. I have always owned Creative sound cards and other PC sound stuff and recently added the Zen Vision:M.

Now, I have always noticed this with Creative. While they have really great hardware, the lack in software. And they really lack. I’ll exemplify with a couple of examples. The Creative sound cards came with a suite of software for everything from basic sound editing to MIDI sequencers. But it was very very difficult to understand how it worked. The names were vague, the interfaces incomprehensible and help menus were not at all helpful!

I was hoping that when Creative went into the media player market, and competed against Apple, they would put in a lot of efforts into their software. But the same old broken crap came along with the Vision.

I have to say that the firmware and the embedded software on the Vision itself is pretty cool. It works pretty well and has most of functionalities that I need. The only exception would be allowing the user to edit the ID3 tags on the Vision itself. But, maybe I am asking for too much.

But this rant is about the PC side software support. This Portable Media Player comes with a plethora of PC software. There is a Sync Software, a Media player, a Pod Catcher, a Media Explorer (like windows explorer for the Vision), a software to buy online content, a software for audiobook support. Sheesh. Now that is confusing. And the best part is, they dont work with each other!! Not only that, they cause each other to crash!

Now this is just really really bad software design. I do see how a software suite is a better option than a single application that does everything (like iTunes), but in such an approach, the suite should work as together, not against each other. A great example of such a suite is the old Nokia PC Suite for the old Nokia 6510. Creative should really do something about this. While I manage to get along with this mess, I am very sure a less savvy user would just give up and buy an iPod.