LAS VEGAS Three new MP3 players launched by SanDisk Corp. at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here should help the company capture market share from Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod in the music player market, an analyst said Tuesday (Jan. 9).
SanDisk introduced a 1-gigabyte Sansa Express MP3 player designed to appeal to value-conscious consumers with a suggested retail price of $59.99. The company also introduced the Sansa Connect MP3 player, which features the capability to wirelessly connect to the Internet, and the Sansa View, described as the industry's first widescreen portable media player. The Connect and View carry suggested retail prices of $249 and $299, respectively.
"We believe all three of these new devices should compete with Apple iPods," wrote Satya Chillara, an analyst with Pacific Growth Equities LLC, in a research note. "We expect the Express should pose competition for the iPod shuffle with increased functionality and a lower price point."
The Connect should put pressure on the iPod Nano series with its WiFi capabilities and the view should threatened the Video iPod with a larger screen, built-in speaker and comparable price point, Chillara wrote.
The Sansa Express, about the size of a pack of gum, includes a microSD expansion slot, FM tuner, recording capabilities, data storage and a direct connection to a consumer's computer with no USB cable required, SanDisk (Milpitas, Calif.) said. The device features up to 15 hours of lithium polymer battery life, the company said.
In addition to the WiFi connection capability, the 4-GB Sansa Connect features a microSD expansion slot for additional memory capacity, an internal speaker and a third design with a 2.2-inch TFT color screen, SanDisk said.
The Sansa View has 8-GB of internal flash memory to store up to 33 video hours or 2,000 songs, SanDisk said. Its flash memory expansion slot allows for additional memory capacity and playback of content found on SD and SDHC cards, the company said. The device offers AV-output of audio and video content to a TV screen through a 30-pin connector (up to 1080i with docking station) or 3.5-mm headphone jack, the company said.
Alex Gauna, an analyst with UBS Securities LLC, said in a research note that SanDisk "now offers a comprehensive array of MP3 products at every major price point and performance level. [SanDisk] is also pioneering new multimedia and connectivity features that we believe should support if not grow its existing market share. Content capture and management remains a lingering issue in need of improvement, in our view."
Chillara maintains a "buy" rating on SanDisk. Gauna maintains a "neutral" rating on the stock.