VR-Zone has a good opportunity to talk to a bunch of X-Fi guys over at Creative Technology recently and we managed to find out a little more about their direction and upcoming plans. We learned that Creative will continue to focus on their X-Fi technology and is in fact very open to licensing of their technology. There is a shift from sales of complete solutions to chipset solutions. One fine example is the licensing of their X-Fi technology and sale of the X-Fi sound chips to Auzentech where they are going to release the Prelude 7.1 into the market soon.
Creative even provides the reference design kits to 3rd party manufacturers and assist them to make even better sound cards. This is obviously a major step for Creative in opening up their business and allow 3rd party access to their advance technology where previously have been pretty conservative in this aspect. We heard more talks are currently underway with potential partners to take up their X-Fi technology. When we asked them about 3rd party competition to their own series of sound cards, Creative replied that they don't mind competition as they feel that more choices of X-Fi based sound cards are in fact good for them (they get to sell more X-Fi chips) and for the consumers.
Another thing assuring for users is that Creative pledged continued support for EAX on Vista platforms through their ALchemy project as also further development on X-Fi to improve on low bitrate compressed music (not lossless). It is interesting to know that Creative might attempt to take on the audiophile market by making audiophile standard sound cards by themselves or perhaps through 3rd party makers. Moving ahead, Creative will not just concentrate PC sound card but to move on to other platforms like MP3 players, video players etc. One interesting aspect Creative is going to target is Car Audio market. It is kinda cool to enjoy X-Fi quality sound in your cars.
Lastly, we managed to find out a little more about the X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express card that surfaced in Akibahara Japan recently. Creative revealed that the sound chip has a PCI to PCIe bridge internally but the downside is that the latency is high so they plan to have the native PCI Express X-Fi chips coming by end of 2007.
If you have any burning questions regarding Creative X-Fi, please post them here. We will compile them and present them the questions when we meet them up the next time.