With a little help from manufacturing partner ZING, SanDisk on Monday unveiled the Sansa Connect, which for all intents and purposes seems to be positioned by the company as a direct competitor to the Microsoft Zune.
Designed for use in Wi-Fi hotspots (although it functions as a regular MP3 player when there is no wireless signal to be found), the Connect accesses online music services without a PC, and users can both stream or download content. It has an internal speaker and the ability to expand the internal 4 Gbytes of memory.
So can you send a song to a friend wirelessly, just like the Zune? Well, because the Connect utilizes music services, the answer is yes.
If a customer is on the same music service as his buddy and wants to send him the hottest new track, a Connect owner just needs to ping him with the player, and the friend can rock out immediately to the new song, SanDisk said. According to the company, a Connect is not even required – Connect-to-PC connections are supported as well. Furthermore, since it's within the confines of a music service, there aren't any restrictions on how many times the track can be played.
There is also a photo playback feature, and the ability to download photos wirelessly as well.
What services can one use with Connect? That remains to be seen—SanDisk representatives were very vague, probably indicating that legal issues are still being worked out. which always means legal issues are still being worked out. According to our own analysis, PC Magazine predicts that the most likely candidates would be services SanDisk has previously partnered with, including Rhapsody, MTV Urge, and Yahoo! And yes, it'll work with Vista.