SanDisk Unveils 8GB Sansa e280 Flash PMP

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SanDisk today took the wraps off its Sansa e280 flash-based personal music player, featuring a flash-based storage capacity which leaves Apple’s current iPod nanos in the dust: 8 GB. And the diminutive little unit offers a host of other features you won’t find in Apple’s ever-popular offering.

“SanDisk is once again making it incredibly affordable for consumers to purchase the most feature-rich, high-capacity players on the market at the best possible price,” said Eric Bone, SanDisk’s director of audio/video product marketing, in a statement. “The most costly ingredient in a flash-based MP3 player is the flash memory. Since we make the flash memory, we essentially remove the middleman and pass that savings directly to the consumer.”

The Sansa e280 sports a 1.8-inch color LCD display, up to 20 hours of play time on a rechargable, user-replaceable lithium-ion battery, a multipin universal connector for future accessor upgrades, battery charging, and USB 2.0 connectivity, and a microSd slot so users can add additional storage. The Sansa e280 also sports an FM tuner with on-the-fly recording capability (in the U.S. only; the European model will lack FM) and voice recording via a built-in microphone. The unit measures 1.7 inches wide, 3.5 inches long, and 0.5 inches high: that’s almost double the volume (and thickness) of the iPod nano, but isn’t exactly a brick that’ll throw your back out of alignment.

Users can view photos and videos on the Sansa e280’s built-in screen by processing them on the PC side using the bundled Sansa Media Converter software, and—of course—supports both MP3 audio and Windows Media Audio, with PlaysForSure compatibility so the Sansa e280 will support subscription services like Rhapsody To Go, Napster, and others. (SanDisk takes a dig at Apple’s FairPlay DRM system by saying the Sansa e280 supports an open, non-proprietary DRM system, but, well, last we checked, Microsoft still owned Windows Media technology and charges licensing fees to use it, and that’s kinda the definition of “proprietary.” We’re just sayin’).

Intrigued? The Sansa e280’s suggested retail price of $249.99 (pre-orders are being accepted now) and it should be available in mid-September. You’ll need Windows XP to hook the e280 up to your PC.

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