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SanDisk Introduces Flash Drives, MP3 Players

1/30/2006 02:00:00 AM Eastern

For a company that cut its teeth selling OEM memory cards for digital cameras, imaging was a peripheral concern at the SanDisk press conference, held here at International CES. Instead, consumer products business executive VP Nelson Chan focused his attention and the company's product introductions on the booming market for mobile phones, USB flash drives and flash-based digital music players.

In fact, Chan hailed the company's performance in the flash-based digital audio market as it achieved second place in December behind Apple. Chan also noted that as a category, flash-based MP3 players had eclipsed hard-disk-drive models in both units and dollars.

“Our intention is to make this market a two horse race,” Chan said. The company would leverage its own flash-memory manufacturing base to target the “sweet spot” of the market with products in the $79 to $149 price range.

SanDisk introduced two new digital music player families, all of which support subscription-based music services from Yahoo!, Rhapsody and Napster, among others.

The top-line Sansa e200 MP3 player will be available in 2GB, 4GB and 6GB capacities for a suggested $199.99, $249.99 and $299.99, respectively. The players feature a 1.8-inch color screen for viewing photos and videos and a MicroSD expansion slot.

The company also introduced a value series, the Sansa c100, in 1GB and 2GB capacities for $119.99 and $169.99, respectively. Both families will ship in March.

Chan also unveiled new USB flash drives in its Cruzer Micro and Cruzer Titanium families, all of which feature the U3 operating system and four preloaded software applications. The Micro drives will be available in March in capacities from 512MB to 4GB for a suggested $49.99 to $299.99.

The Cruzer Titanium, with read/write speeds of up to 15MBps, will be available in April in 1GB and 2GB capacities for a suggested $119.99 and $169.99, respectively.

SanDisk introduced its first USB flash drives geared toward the gaming community. The Cruzer Crossfire will ship in four colors to correspond to a specific capacity: green for the 512MB drive, white for the 1GB, black for 2GB and blue for 4GB. Pricing will be $54.99, $99.99, $169.99 and $329.99, respectively. The drives are U3 enabled and can be used in the XBox 360 and future game systems from Sony and Nintendo, SanDisk said.

Finally, the company also announced higher capacities for its miniSD and microSD formats, with a 1GB MicroSD card slated to ship in February for a suggested $119.99 and a 2GB miniSD card, also available in February, for $199.99.

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