updated 07:10 pm EDT, Wed August 18, 2010
SanDisk Sansa Fuze Plus leaks out
SanDisk is finally upgrading its core MP3 player line, a leak this evening showed. The Sansa Fuze+ should replace the 2.5 year old original with a fresher design that uses capacitive touch buttons and a color OLED display. It would address some longstanding complaints with support for AAC and H.264, although Engadget's spec notes SanDisk is keeping the largely unused slotRadio format an option for its microSDHC slot.
Most of the features would be on par with competitors on sale today, with 24 hours of battery for music, five hours of video and capacities between 4GB and 16GB. An FM tuner is still onboard and will support both DVR-style pausing and recording for later. The player doesn't have a price but should ship September 12.
SanDisk was once one of Apple's most vocal competitors and at one point launched an anti-iPod campaign that accused iPod buyers of being "sheep." After failing to dislodge Apple with a series of media players, however, it largely fell silent and has only occasionally launched mildly upgraded players like the Sansa Clip+. The company's chief executive Eli Harari eventually admitted last year that SanDisk couldn't "out-iPod the iPod" and would try to carve out a niche rather try to oust Apple.
SanDisk is still second place in MP3 players in the US but has just a small fraction of the market versus Apple's estimated 70 percent. It does continue to have lead over Microsoft's Zune line, which has rarely exceeded two percent.