updated 08:15 am EDT, Tue March 11, 2008
SanDisk Sansa Fuze
SanDisk this morning quickly ended leaks by releasing the Sansa Fuze, the company's particular take on the same small, widescreen player formula as the third-generation iPod nano. Much shorter than the Sansa View, the Fuze has a small 1.9-inch screen but still includes a full jog wheel and the newer music and video playback features, effectively replacing the outgoing E200 series. In contrast to most devices in the category, however, it also sports a microSDHC slot: users can add as much as 8GB or more to the storage of their existing player if they run out of space or want a permanently rotating collection of music.
The Fuze line also adds FM radio and a voice recording microphone to the equation and supports music subscriptions from Audible, Real Rhapsody, and many Windows Media stores in addition to unprotected MP3/WAV audio and MPEG-4 video. In a rare addition, SanDisk also notes that the normally Windows-only device will also work with Linux and Mac OS X systems when used in mass storage mode.
SanDisk ships the Fuze in early April and hopes to beat Apple and most other competitors in terms of sheer price: a 2GB black version will sell for $80, while a 4GB version in black, blue, pink, or red sells for $100. An 8GB silver version will be available for $130 -- a full $70 less than the price set by most rivals.