The iPod has some serious competition. Due in September, SanDisk’s Sansa e280 MP3 player will offer 8 Gbytes of flash memory for just $249. That’s equal to 128 hours of playback, or approximately 2000 songs. On top of that, the e280’s microSD expansion slot and an optional 2-Gbyte microSD card can boost the total to 2500 tunes.
“The most costly ingredient in a flash-based MP3 player is the flash memory. Since we make the flash memory, we essentially remove the middleman and pass that savings directly to the consumer,” says Eric Bone, SanDisk director of audio/video product marketing.
Additionally, the e280 includes a digital FM tuner, on-the-fly FM recording, and voice recording. It also features the Sansa Media Converter, which supports all picture and video formats. And since it supports SanDisk TrustedFlash cards, users can move their content to mobile phones that are equipped with microSD card slots.
The e200 series players support Microsoft PlaysForSure. With the open digital rights management system, users can download and pay for songs individually, or they can download an unlimited number of songs from subscription services like Rhapsody To Go. These players work with MP3, Windows Media Audio, and other audio formats.
The e280 is 1.7 by 3.5 by 0.5 in., with a 1.8-in. TFT color screen. The replaceable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides 20 hours of operation. System requirements include Windows XP, Windows Media Player 10+, a CD-ROM drive, and a USB 2.0 port. Availability is expected in the first half of September.