SanDisk is set to launch a slimline MP3 player with a flash memory capacity of 16GB. The SanDisk SansaView will play video, display photos and pick up FM radio stations. Its 16GB storage can be boosted to 24GB via an 8GB microSDHC (Secure Digital high capacity) removable memory card. Not uncoincidentally, SanDisk has just announced its 8GB microSDHC cards. The pencil-thin player is likely to compete directly with Apple's newly video-enabled nano.
While a 16GB or even 24GB MP3 player doesn’t sound that huge, given that the likes of Archos, Apple and Creative have players capable of storing 10 times this amount of data, the crucial fact is that the SanDisk SansaView is a flash memory device.
SanDisk says the video playback on the SansaView will be at 30 frames per second and "marries the finest MP3 player attributes with full-motion video support typically found in larger portable media players".
Flash memory players should last longer between battery recharges than PMPs (portable media players), which store music, TV and video on hard disk, since they don't have moving parts to power. SanDisk is claiming a battery life of seven hours when playing video on the SansaView and 30 hours when listening to music.
SanDisk's provenance is as a flash memory maker but branched out into making its own MP3 players. Last year, it ran a viral marketing campaign on the London Underground and elsewhere with the express intention of enticing Apple iPod refuseniks to try another brand of portable music player.
In the US, SanDisk is the second-biggest player in the MP3 player market, although it doesn’t come close to the Apple iPod's dominance, of course. The company claims the SansaView will be a "significant step up" from its Sansa e200 music player series and looks set to market it as a hybrid of PMP and MP3 player, pushing the low price that it has been able to attach to such a combination.
The SansaView will have a 2.4in widescreen display on which users can view DivX video content converted using the Sansa Media Converter as well as the H.264, Mpeg4 and Windows Media Video content the player natively supports. The FM radio will have 20 station presets and SanDisk will also include a line-in recording feature.
Music download and subscription services with which the SanDisk SansaView works will include Napster and eMusic. Audible audio books will also be able to be enjoyed on the player.
Two versions of the SanDisk SansaView are set to arrive in the UK: an 8GB model and the aforementioned 16GB. Likely pricing is to be £150 and just under £200, respectively. It will launch in the US in October, "with other regions to follow shortly thereafter".
See page two for pictures of the SanDisk SansaView