When talk turns to digital media players, Apple’s iPod and Microsoft’s second-generation Zune (with its third-gen firmware) dominate the conversation. But if you’re a Rhapsody-to-Go subscriber ($15 per month), there’s only one media player you should consider: Haier’s Rhapsody Ibiza.
SanDisk is teaming up with major music labels, including Sony BMG, to offer “slotMusic”; 1GB memory cards preloaded with full length albums.
The albums will be sold at retailers likes Wal-Mart and Best Buy and will be encoded in high quality mp3 format. The microSD cards will have no DRM restrictions, allowing the music to be easily downloaded to a computer or loaded onto an mp3 player. SanDisk also anticipates that be offering 1GB cards, artists will take the liberty of offering more than just an average 11-track album, maybe even venturing to offer music videos, interviews, album art, bonus tracks, and other premium content.
This business venture is an interesting one, especially considering that SanDisk seems to be attempting to revive physical media. This could prove to be a difficult endeavor, especially with companies like Apple being ahead of the game with iTunes. There’s speculation that this is SanDisk’s way of trying to offset the takeover bids from Samsung and Toshiba, though analysts say there is little the company can do to try to stay independent.
It’s taken many a year, but Microsoft is finally figuring out how to build operating systems for handheld devices. Windows Mobile Portable Media Center 2.0, embedded in Toshiba’s Gigabeat T400 4GB digital media player, is better than anything Apple has to offer.