SanDisk and Yahoo will now make beautiful music together. Sandisk announced Monday that it will partner with the Yahoo Music service for its new Sansa Connect Wi-Fi-enabled MP3 player. Sansa Connect owners can use either the free Yahoo service, or sign up for the subscription-based one -- in either case without having to use a PC to load up music.
Owners of the Sansa Connect who have a Yahoo ID can browse photos on the Yahoo-owned Flickr site, listen to LAUNCHcast Internet radio, or check out the songs their Sansa Connect-owning friends are playing.
If users have a subscription to Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go, they also can listen to or download songs from that service. If a friend is also a subscriber to Yahoo, the owner can listen to or download the songs the friend is listening to or has recommended. Music recommendations can be shared via Yahoo Messenger.
'First of New Breed'
The Sansa Connect is "actually the first of the new breed of MP3 players," said James McQuivey, an analyst with technology research firm Forrester.
The new SanDisk player is "a very significant innovation," he said, in that it couples "the discovery of music and the acquisition of music with the playback of music." He said that Yahoo has been "fighting vigorously to be relevant in the music discovery and music playback space," which this development accomplishes, but the question is what kind of market segment this actually is.
He asked whether the Sansa Connect represents a smaller piece of the market that Apple already has with the iPod, or if it represents an expansion of the market. "I'm betting that it is current users looking for a better way, rather than a whole new market," he said.
Daniel Schreiber, SanDisk senior vice president and general manager, also described his company's Sansa Connect as "a new breed of music player" that "untethers consumers from their computers."
Collaboration with ZING
The Connect, at 15.2 ounces, sports 4 GB of flash storage, a microSD slot for expansion, a 2.2-inch TFT color screen, and an internal speaker. It can play several music file formats, including both protected and unprotected MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA).
In addition to Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go, it also supports subscription- and PC-based Microsoft PlaysForSure music.
The WiFi-enabled music player, first announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, is the result of a collaboration between SanDisk and ZING, a mobile entertainment and services company.
It retails for $250, and is now available in the U.S. SanDisk said the Connect would be available in Canada in late 2007.
SanDisk, based in Milpitas, California, describes itself as the original inventor of flash storage, the second largest seller of MP3 players in the U.S., and the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products.