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MP3 Players

SanDisk's Sansa takes on iPod Shuffle

SanDisk hopes to grab a slice of the flash MP3 player market back from Apple when it releases its Sansa music players on Friday.

SanDisk Sansa E100 Series
SanDisk hopes to grab a slice of the flash-based MP3 player market when it releases its Sansa music players on Friday.

According to US-based SanDisk, the world's biggest manufacturer of flash memory cards, Sansa is the name of a African "thumb piano" instrument and also stands for SanDisk Super Audio.

Not to be confused with the Super Audio CD format (SACD), Sansa supports MP3, WMA, and protected WMA files. The E100 series of players will come with 512MB and 1GB of internal flash memory in blue and silver cases, respectively. SanDisk claims a single AAA battery will last up to 17 hours of continuous playback. Both models will feature an SD card slot for external storage; the highest capacity SD card SanDisk currently sells is 2GB, which would take the maximum available memory to 3GB. A carrying case with armband comes bundled with the player and other features of the E100 series include an FM tuner with 20 presets and a blue backlit LCD. Menu navigation supports sorting songs by artist, title, album, genre, year, date loaded.

SanDisk will also re-brand its existing Digital Audio Players to become the M200 series. The updated flash players have capacities of 256MB, 512 and 1GB in red, blue and silver colours, respectively, with no expansion card slot for additional storage.

SanDisk currently holds the number two spot in the flash-MP3 player market in the US after Apple, which sells the iPod Shuffle flash player.

When asked how it the Sansa E100 compares with the iPod Shuffle, Alex Chan, SanDisk's Business Development Director for Asia Pacific says that the Sansa gives customers more choice in what they listen to. "Random is good, but you don't have the right to choose songs other than keep pushing the forward button. The Sansa has an LCD display and an FM radio, which the Shuffle doesn't have."

Pricing will be announced at the PICA Photo Imaging Show in Brisbane on Friday.