SanDisk’s Sansa Connect has been one of our favorite digital media players, thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi feature that enabled you to download music from your Yahoo Music Unlimited subscription. But Yahoo’s announcement that it intends to shutter its subscription music service by the middle of this year will render the player’s Wi-Fi capabilities practically useless—a development that's almost certain to kill sales of the Connect.
If you’re a Yahoo Music subscriber, your subscription will be automatically transferred to RealNetworks’
service (unless you opt out, at which point Yahoo will refund the balance of your paid subscription). According to this
on Yahoo’s site, Yahoo Music Unlimited subscribers will be transferred to a Rhapsody Unlimited account ($13.00 per month); Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go customers (the service Connect owners are most likely using) will be switched to Rhapsody To Go ($15.00 per month). A Rhapsody spokesperson tells me that Yahoo customers will receive special pricing for a limited time, but that those details have not yet been worked out.
The Sansa Connect is not currently listed as being compatible with Rhapsody, but we have confirmed with Eric Bone, SanDisk’s director of audio/video product marketing, that the device
be compatible by the time the switch takes place. The wireless functionality, on the other hand, will
function with Rhapsody. “The wireless connectivity for downloading music from the Yahoo service will be discontinued [when Yahoo shuts down its music subscription service]” said Bone. “Unfortunately, we’re not able to transfer the wireless downloading functionality to Rhapsody.”
In other words, the number-one feature that drove most people to buy a Sansa Connect in the first place is now permanently broken. In the words of the immortal Johnny Rotten, “Ever feel like you’ve been cheated?”