Tag Archives | SanDisk

Maybe We Need a SanDisk Sansa of Tablets

SanDisk is introducing a new MP3 player today. It’s called the Sansa Zip Clip, sells for under $50, and has a 1.1″ color screen, 4GB of storage, a MicroSD slot, a stopwatch, and an FM radio. Until the company alerted me to the news, I’d sort of forgotten that anyone was releasing new stand-alone MP3 players. But hearing about it got me thinking about a newer market dominated by Apple–tablets.

SanDisk’s Sansa line has long been one of the few success stories in media players that doesn’t involve products with “Apple” in the name. The company managed to quietly sell enough players to become the second most successful player in the category, and it apparently continues to do well enough to make introducing new models worth its while.

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Xbox 360 USB Stick Honors the Tradition of Overpriced Storage

Well, of course the official Xbox 360 USB stick from SanDisk is outrageously priced, at $35 for 8 GB and $70 for 16 GB. That’s roughly double what you’d pay for comparable SanDisk drives, sans Xbox branding.

Microsoft started allowing external storage on the Xbox 360 last month. Although any flash drive or hard drive will do, Microsoft promised its own solution was forthcoming, and pretty much everyone assumed correctly that it wouldn’t be cheap.

In exchange for the hefty markup, you get a month of Xbox Live Gold (an $8 value) and plug-and-play support, which means you don’t have to format the drive using the console’s interface. I’d take the money.

But don’t blame Microsoft for thinking its brand name commands a premium. This is an industry tradition that predates the current console generation.

For instance, NewEgg sells a two-pack of 8 MB memory cards for the Playstation 2 for $34. A single, $30 card from Intec holds four times the data of both official cards combined. When I was in high school, I remember getting a similar deal on Nintendo 64 memory, with a third-party memory pack that cost roughly the same as the official model, but with four times the capacity.

Console makers aren’t the only ones who charge more than they should for storage. A 4 GB SanDisk Memory Stick Pro Duo for the PSP costs $35 at GameStop. The same exact product is $24 on Amazon and $19 on NewEgg. GameStop also plans to charge an extra $5 for the 8 GB Xbox 360 USB stick.

If you’re reading this blog, I have a feeling you’re tech-savvy enough to shop around and avoid the games industry’s storage shenanigans. Microsoft did good by allowing non-proprietary memory on the Xbox 360, but the availability of cheap USB sticks highlights the silliness of charging high premiums for branding.


SanDisk Takes MicroSD to 32GB

More CTIA news: SanDisk has announced that it’s shipping the world’s highest capacity MicroSDHC card. It’s a 32GB model, big enough to let any phone with an SDHC slot match the memory of the highest-capacity iPhone 3GS. As usual for a new high-end memory card, it’s pricey in terms of the cost per gigabyte: SanDisk is offering it for $199.99, but the company will also sell you four 8GB  MicroSD cards for a total of $120. If history is any indication–and it is–the 32GB cards will get cheaper, especially once 64GB models (which require slots compatible with the newer MicroSDXC standard) arrive and claim the maximum-capacity bragging rights.


The World Probably Doesn’t Need slotMusic

Music is about to get microscopic. Flash storage kingpin SanDisk is launching slotMusic, which it calls an “innovative, new physical music format.” Actually, what it is is DRM-free albums sold on MicroSD cards, along with a USB adapter. According to the New York Times, the albums may cost $7-$10 apiece; according to GigaOm, the format will launch with 29 (count ’em!) albums. SlotMusic has the support of major labels EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner, as well as physical music behemoths Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

SanDisk presumably sees slotMusic (whose site, incidentally, barely mentions SanDisk) as an opportunity to sell millions more flash cards a year. For consumers, though, I’m not sure if the format passes the “why?” test. Here’s SanDisk’s pitch:

“slotMusic cards enable consumers to instantly and easily enjoy music from their favorite artists without being dependent on a PC or internet connection. Users simply insert the slotMusic card into their microSD-enabled mobile phone or MP3 player to hear the music – without passwords, downloading or digital-rights-management interfering with their personal use.”

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