SanDisk forecasts memory-less MP3 player future
At a presentation in London SanDisk Director of Product Marketing Jan Hauer announced that very soon MP3 players will come with... no memory at all. But they will have Ogg and Flac support.
Well, he would say that, wouldn't he? After all, SanDisk is the only music player maker that also sells removable media. Mandy Rice-Davis apart, Hauer's statement is not without some foundation.
SanDisk is of the opinion that when Moore's Law is applied to removable Flash memory it means every 12 months we'll get twice the storage for the same price. So, the dosh you have to part with today for an 8GB SanDisk Micro SDHC card today will get you 16GB model in June 2009 and a 32GB version a year after that.
We'll be keeping an eye on SanDisk's pricing structure to see how well they stick to this.
SanDisk's point, then, is why would anyone buy an MP3 player with any built-in memory when they can buy one with a bundled Micro SD card of the same capacity instead that can also be slotted into your phone, car or hi-fi when you want to listen to your music elsewhere? With Audi and BMW already apparently offering this capacity, along with high-end ICE maker Blaupunkt, the argument is persuasive.
SanDisk also announced that an imminent firmware upgrade for its iPod Nano-basher, the Sansa Clip, will bring Ogg Vorbis and Flac file support to the range. A similar upgrade for the new Fuze player, due for release next week, is coming "soon".
All SanDisk MP3 players will also come with FM radios from now on, the recent move of their manufacturing base from China to Prague means they no longer have to worry about that pesky ten per cent European import tariff on FM-fitted devices.
I think Sansa players were improved a lot lately. I just got one at http://go.shopsansa.com . I like the players for the option to boost the capacity. I have so many songs that it’s just great to keep them at one place.
Like someone said, what's the difference between a removable SD card and a removable tape/CD/MiniDisc? I remember seeing SanDisk players with SD card slots about 3 or 4 years ago. On the whole, it's a great idea, especially for all the tiny SD cards lying about in my drawer (I have a 16Mb in there!)
All fine and well but...
If you don't have a really fast access card in there it will be painfully slow navigating and selecting tracks. Having owned a couple of MP3 players with card slots to get performance that wasn't slow and tedious you have to use the fastest card you can find. Even then it was much slower than when using the players on board memory.
Couple that up to the card reader they put INTO the device likely to be only a bog standard cheapo-mart thing and it'll just compound the issue. From the off people will say "well how does it compare to my X thingy player" and find it slow by comparison, so will ignore the card only players.
Sorry to sound like a nay sayer but things are going to have to improve dramatically from the current situation with card memory performance in media players for this (good), idea to be viable.
I do like the idea. Hang on though... on average people change things like these every 4-5 years because they either break or new models offer improved storage. Assuming storage becomes a non-issue because of the cards, are you telling me the manufacturers are going to improve the build quality of their devices so they can indeed last 10 years to make the idea of pure card memory players truly viable?!
Yeah right! My 8gb Sansa didn't last 18 months before the flimsy front jog dial said "fk off I'm tired" and stopped working.
A good use for old SD cards
Be good if it's SD cards (micro SD are WAY too fiddly). All those leftover 128MB and 256MB cards that are hardly worth using in a high megapixel camera will come into their own again.
I never understood the concept of MP3 players with fixed inbuilt memory.
You and me both, Andy.