This week in the US, SanDisk released its US$250 Sansa Connect, a new Wi-Fi-capable portable MP3 player featuring both free and subscription music service from Yahoo Music.
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 (US$12 per month) will be able to download (but not burn to CD) as many songs as their respective time and Internet service provider’s bandwidth allowances permit. Yahoo’s music subscription service isn’t available to Mac users.
The Sansa Connect has an internal speaker and 4-Gbytes 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.
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.
“Labels and artists get paid for every radio play and every Yahoo Music download to the Sansa Connect, whereas we all know iPods are mostly full of not-paid-for MP3s,”
he wrote. “At Yahoo we would like to help maintain a healthy music business, compensating labels and artists at a fair price to consumers.”
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