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SanDisk declares war on iPods

Cuts prices, boosts memory on players

SanDisk cut prices on its mid-range, handheld MP3 music players today as it released a higher capacity, 8GB player.

The Sansa e280 has more capacity than any other flash-based MP3 player in the market, the company said. Some products such as Apple's 30GB and 60GB iPods have more, but they use hard disk drives, not solid state memory.

Since SanDisk makes its own memory components, it can control costs on the most expensive part of an MP3 player.

SanDisk's new device can play music, display photos or videos, record with a built-in microphone and play radio songs with a digital FM tuner. The standard device can hold 2,000 songs compressed with the MP3 format, or 2,500 songs if a user inserts an extra 2GB microSD memory card, also made by SanDisk.

The product is unlikely to dominate markets since Apple has such commanding market share - 70 percent - but SanDisk hopes its new prices will boost holiday sales of lower-capacity Sansa models.

The company lowered prices on its 2GB e250 model from $180 (about £95) to $140 (£74), cut its 4GB e260 from $230 (£121) to $180 (£95) and reduced its 6GB e270 from $280 (148) to $220 (£116). It will sell the new Sansa e280 for $250 (£132).

After Apple, SanDisk is the second-largest vendor in the market, followed by Creative, iriver, Sony and Samsung, according to the analyst firm Creative Strategies.

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