This is not an issue unique to Sansa. Most recent MP3 players don’t have replaceable batteries. The reason is simple - not having to worry about making the device easy to open and/or the battery easy to replace allows the designers to make a smaller, thinner player. Players with non-replaceable batteries have always outsold players with replaceable batteries because size is a bigger issue to buyers.
A “third party kit” is a product sold by someone other than the original manufacturer. They’ll typically include a battery, instructions, and perhaps a tool to pry the device open. Typically they cost about $20. The Fuze is selling well enough that I expect these will start showing up in a couple of years.
Why do you think you’d need a new one in 2-3 years? The battery life should still be pretty good in that timeframe. I’d expect to get 8-10 hours of play time for four or so years. And technolgy changes so much that a 4-yo player isn’t very desirable - for example, I could have replaced the battery in my old iPod, but its black&white screen is hard to read, even a new brand battery only lasts 12 hours, its only 20GB but several times as big as a Fuze, and its a hard drive so I have to pamper it.
Message Edited by bdb on 05-31-2008 09:14 AM