Just days after Apple announced a 2GB iPod Shuffle for £45 – and dropped the price of the 1GB to £32 – Creative has launched three of its own sub-£50 players.

The new Zen Stone and Zen Stone Plus players cost from just £30 for a 2GB model, plus (unlike the Shuffle) include a display. They also come with a free 'skin' and clip, and - to the doubtless forthcoming delight of commuters everywhere - a built-in speaker.

The 2GB Zen Stone (£30) and 4GB Zen Stone Plus (£50) come only in black, while the 2GB Zen Stone Plus (£38) is available in black, champagne, pink or blue (as pictured above).

The 'Plus' models also include an FM radio, microphone, clock and stopwatch. Battery life for all designs is a claimed 20 hours.

All Creative players remain PC-only and support MP3 and WMA formats - though interestingly, this new Zen Stone/Stone Plus models also support unprotected AAC files: handy if you've an iTunes library of your own ripped music or iTunes Plus downloads.

The new Creative range should be in shops by 1st March.

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