Singapore's Creative Technology plans to announce a new range of MP3 players soon, but the company is not offering product details ahead of the launch.

"With the imminent release of some of our exciting new MP3 players we wanted to wait for the press release and the global launch," said Craig McHugh, president of Creative Labs, during a conference call Wednesday with investors.

"I don't want to go into depth on that but we do have something very exciting coming in the MP3 area," he said.

McHugh's reluctance to discuss the upcoming products is somewhat out of character for Creative, which has previously shared details of new products with investors ahead of their launch dates.

The products are critical for Creative, which has recently been hit by falling sales of its existing Zen and MuVo MP3 players. Creative is the world's second-largest provider of MP3 players, trailing far behind market leader Apple during 2006, according to IDC.

As a result, on Wednesday Creative reported a $23.6 million loss for the third quarter as sales fell short of expectations. The company had sales of $183.8 million during its fiscal third quarter, which ended 31 March. By comparison, the company reported sales of $225.7 million during the same period last year.

McHugh blamed the company's third-quarter loss on lower-than-expected sales in Asia and the US. In addition, the company was dragged lower by falling MP3 shipments and price cuts made necessary by "market conditions," he said.

Looking ahead, Creative is pinning its hopes on new products to be introduced during the next two quarters to bring the company back to profitability ahead of the year-end holiday season.

"I believe we'll position ourselves very well for the holiday," McHugh said.