CES 2019: Creative Technology’s award streak continues as CEO previews new Super X-Fi plans

CES 2019: Creative Technology’s award streak continues as CEO previews new Super X-Fi plans

The Singapore-based audio company has bagged four awards at the consumer electronics trade show so far.

Sim Wong Hoo at CES 2019
Creative Technology CEO Sim Wong Hoo seen with awards picked up at this year's CES. (Photo: Creative Labs/Facebook)

LAS VEGAS: Creative Technology has bagged more awards at the CES consumer electronics trade show with its Super X-Fi (SXFI) audio products, but CEO Sim Wong Hoo is already thinking ahead about how to bring the technology to the wider market.

Mr Sim on Wednesday (Jan 9) told Channel NewsAsia that its SXFI products clinched Best of CES awards from top industry media such as AVS Forum, TechRadar, Overclock and SoundGuys - and some for products that are not yet in the market.

READ: Creative Technology sounds return to relevance with latest innovation

He shared that AVS Forum had already given its CES award to the Singapore-based company in 2018 when it previewed its prototype here, so he wasn’t expecting to repeat the feat.

“I thought I already wowed them last year, so this year, there was nothing to wow them with,” he said.

However, the folks at AVS Forum were impressed with Creative’s vision of bringing its Super X-Fi audio tech to a home theatre setting, and allowing up to four users to personalise their viewing experience independent of the others in the room, he said.

“Now, you can’t control the volume when watching your home theatre; some may want it louder and others softer,” Mr Sim explained.

“With the SXFI TV (set-top box), users can plug in their individual sound profile and listening preferences using their respective SXFI Theater headphones.

SXFI TV and SXFI Theater
The SXFI Theater (left) and SXFI TV are market-ready products in Creative's pipeline, but Mr Sim said the company didn't want to introduce too many too soon as it would distract consumers from existing offerings.

The SXFI TV, in particular, uses a proprietary wireless technology that Creative claims reduces the latency significantly to about 10 milliseconds compared to, say, BlueTooth. 

The latency rate for the latter comes in at 100 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds so, for example, the sound of a punch thrown will not be in sync with what’s seen on the screen, the CEO explained.

These two products are not yet in the market. Mr Sim said the company wanted only to give visitors to its demo booth a preview of how they work and the experiences a user can have with them. 

It is likely to be six more months before SXFI Theater and SXFI TV hit the market, he said. 

As for the products already in the market, such as the SXFI Amp dongle, Mr Sim declined to give the sales figure so far, only revealing there is pent-up demand for the product, a point he had also made last September at the product launch.

SXFI EVERYWHERE?

Looking ahead, the confident Creative CEO said it is “open for business” to partners interested in integrating the Super X-Fi technology into their audio products.

He even gave a glimpse of future plans by showing a “cut-and-paste” offering that smaller-scale manufacturers can quickly use to integrate into their product line and bring to market. 

This can be done through a miniaturised SXFI Amp dongle, which a manufacturer can quickly splice into its existing headphone products, he explained.

SXFI dongle as ready-made solution
Creative's Sim opened up and shared the company's vision for helping small-scale partners go quickly to market with its audio technology.

More established audio players keen on having more control over the integration of Super X-Fi tech can do so by buying its chip instead of the ready-made option, he added.

This, again, showed how the CEO was adamant not to repeat the mistakes made in the SoundBlaster days.

Creative did not open up its SoundBlaster technology to the wider industry ecosystem when it had market dominance and then failed to defend its lead when competition came knocking and ate away at its revenue base.

With a long-term product roadmap in mind, Creative Technology looks ready to "run like hell" - a term Mr Sim has used before - to cash in on its latest invention. 

Source: CNA/kk(hs)

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