Yahoo, SanDisk Jointly Deliver WiFi-Enabled Player

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Yahoo Music has recently tied up with SanDisk and Zing Systems to release a new WiFi-enabled portable media player. SanDisk had announced the wireless player, named Sansa Connect, earlier this year at CES, but the Yahoo tie-in was revealed over the weekend. The player is specifically designed to work with Yahoo Music Unlimited subscription service along with Yahoo-powered Launchcast streaming radio offering. Other supported applications include Yahoo Messenger and photo storage and sharing destination Flickr.

The SanDisk Sansa Connect is priced at $250 and is being positioned on several retailers, including Circuit City. In addition to the device price tag, consumers will have to grab a $12 monthly subscription to Yahoo Music Unlimited. Once the subscription is created, users can access Yahoo tracks while on-the-go, although they can’t own the downloads. This differs from the successful iPod strategy, which focuses on track ownership and represents a current consumer sweet spot.

Ian Rogers of Yahoo Music announced the release of SanDisk Sansa Connect on his blog and said, “It’s with great pride I announce the release of the SanDisk Sansa Connect, the new WiFi-enabled portable MP3 player set to free you from the USB cable chaining you to your PC. For me personally, the SanDisk Connect has put me in a completely different mode of portable music listening and discovery.”

This initiative is part of SanDisk’s larger strategy that involves leading iTunes Store competitors. Several months ago, SanDisk partnered with RealNetworks and Best Buy to offer the Sansa e200R Rhapsody player, which is also optimized for portable subscription access but lacks wireless accessibility. Both efforts offer an iPod alternative, although analysts question whether the prevailing Apple portability model requires a retreaded approach.

The SanDisk Sansa Connect measures 2.05 inches by 3.58 inches by 0.63 inches and weighs 15.2 ounces. The device has a 2.2-inch screen and 4GB of storage, which can hold up to 1,000 songs. It has a microSD card slot for additional storage. The player’s battery can last up to 6 hours and can be charged through a USB port.

The SanDisk Sansa Connect also has a built-in FM tuner, which allows users to listen to their favorite FM radio stations. The device’s WiFi capability enables users to access the Yahoo Music Unlimited service and Launchcast radio stations. With the help of Yahoo Messenger and Flickr, users can easily share photos and music with their friends.

The SanDisk Sansa Connect is not only a music player but also a social device. Users can create playlists, rate songs, and share their favorite music with other Yahoo Music Unlimited subscribers. They can also view photos and read blogs posted by other users. This feature-rich device is expected to give Apple’s iPod a run for its money.

The success of the SanDisk Sansa Connect will depend on how well it is received by the public and how much it can compete with Apple’s iPod. The iPod is currently the most popular portable media player on the market, with a market share of over 70%. However, the SanDisk Sansa Connect offers users something different, with its WiFi capability, subscription-based service, and social features. It is an attractive alternative to Apple’s iPod and could give the technology giant a run for its money.

In conclusion, the SanDisk Sansa Connect is a WiFi-enabled portable media player that is optimized to work with Yahoo Music Unlimited subscription service, Launchcast radio stations, Yahoo Messenger, and Flickr. The device is priced at $250, and users will have to grab a $12 monthly subscription to access Yahoo tracks while on-the-go. The SanDisk Sansa Connect offers users something different than Apple’s iPod, with its social features, subscription-based service, and WiFi capability. It is an attractive alternative to Apple’s iPod and could give the technology giant a run for its money.