SanDisk has released its $250 Sansa Connect, a new Wi-Fi-capable portable MP3 player featuring both free and subscription music service from Yahoo Music. Apple holds about 73% of the U.S. market for portable digital music players, while SanDisk is second with about 9%, according to market research firm NPD.
Sansa owners with a Yahoo ID will be able to listen to Launchcast Internet radio, browse Flickr photos, and send instant messages using Yahoo Messenger. Those with Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go subscriptions ($12 per month) will be able to download (but not burn to CD) an unlimited number of songs. Yahoo's music subscription service isn't available to Mac users. In answer to critics who might be tempted to complain about paying $12 a month, Ian Rogers on the Yahoo Music blog said the fee represented just compensation for the music industry.
The Sansa Connect has an internal speaker and 4GB of Flash memory. Its storage capacity can be expanded using a microSD card in the built-in slot. The device supports a variety of digital audio formats such as MP3 and Windows Media Audio. In addition to Yahoo's music service, the device works with Microsoft PlaysForSure subscriptions. Available now in the U.S., the Sansa Connect is scheduled for release in Canada later this year.