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SanDisk Targets iPod With 8 Gbyte Music Player

The Sansa e280 has a $249.99 price tag and is positioned to take on the red-hot iPod nano.
Leveraging its flash memory manufacturing capability, SanDisk Corp. announced Monday a new 8-gigabyte music player and price cuts for its e200 Sansa product line.

The 8-gigabyte Sansa e280 carries a $249.99 price and is positioned against Apple Computer's best selling iPod Nano. The new Sansa has an optional SanDisk 2GB microSD card, which enables music to be swapped from the Sansa to mobile phones equipped with microSD card slots.

"The most costly ingredient in a flash-based MP3 player is the flash memory," said Eric Bone, director of audio/video product marketing at SanDisk, in a statement. "Since we make the flash memory, we essentially remove the middleman and pass that savings directly to the consumer."

SanDisk has been gaining market share in the MP3 music player space in the past year, jumping from a 3.1 percent share to nearly 10 percent in the most recent second quarter. Apple remains in a solid lead in the category with slightly more than 75 percent market share, according to rankings by NPD Group Inc.

While SanDisk can boast of an advantage due to its flash memory manufacturing capability, Apple's strength is largely based on its ties to its iTunes software and its music store. SanDisk is countering with its open digital rights management system that enables users to purchase music from numerous sources.

For instance, Sansa e200 players operate with Microsoft PlaysForSure and with music stores like Rhapsody To Go.

SanDisk said it was lowering pricing on its entire Sansa line. The Sansa e270 6GB player is offered at a new price of $219.99 while the Sansa e250 2GB player is priced at $139.99. SanDisk is also planning to introduce a player for less than $100 before the holiday season, according to press reports.

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