SanDisk forecasts memory-less MP3 player future

Good move. Lets start off with a memory-less Fuze and with 2 slots (2x capacity)

SanDisk forecasts memory-less MP3 player future

®[P]8 comments

By Alun Taylor [More by this author]

11th June 2008 11:16 GMT

At a presentation in London SanDisk Director of Product Marketing Jan Hauer announced that very soon MP3 players will come with… no memory at all. But they will have Ogg and Flac support.

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? After all, SanDisk is the only music player maker that also sells removable media. Mandy Rice-Davis apart, Hauer’s statement is not without some foundation.

SanDisk is of the opinion that when Moore’s Law is applied to removable Flash memory it means every 12 months we’ll get twice the storage for the same price. So, the dosh you have to part with today for an 8GB SanDisk Micro SDHC card today will get you 16GB model in June 2009 and a 32GB version a year after that.

We’ll be keeping an eye on SanDisk’s pricing structure to see how well they stick to this.

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SanDisk’s point, then, is why would anyone buy an MP3 player with any built-in memory when they can buy one with a bundled Micro SD card of the same capacity instead that can also be slotted into your phone, car or hi-fi when you want to listen to your music elsewhere? With Audi and BMW already apparently offering this capacity, along with high-end ICE maker Blaupunkt, the argument is persuasive.

SanDisk also announced that an imminent firmware upgrade for its iPod Nano-basher, the Sansa Clip, will bring Ogg Vorbis and Flac file support to the range. A similar upgrade for the new Fuze player, due for release next week, is coming “soon”.

All SanDisk MP3 players will also come with FM radios from now on, the recent move of their manufacturing base from China to Prague means they no longer have to worry about that pesky ten per cent European import tariff on FM-fitted devices. ®

It would be fantastic if Sandisk came up with a memory-less Clip! (with file browser support…). Currently, consumers buying a certian device are “locked” to the internal memory size of the device and need to replace the whole device when storage needs increase.

They’ve tried this with the Shaker, and I’m not impressed.

First of all before you go fullly memory-less, you will need to find out how to transfer channels from Rhapsody onto an SD card and how to maintain the license files in tact, unless you dump Rhapsody all together.

Also, I feel you would need to at least “package” the units with a card.  A lot of brick and mortar stores offer limited storage options at highly inflated prices.

Case in point, a Sandisk 4GB MicroSD card was selling at staples for 49.00.  I got an 8GB model for 10 dollars cheaper on Amazon.  Forcing the user to go online to get the best deal in cards is not ideal.  Also, many brick and mortars don’t have their electronics stuff in one central location.

So if I buy a player at the MP3 player aisle, then I have to go to the Cell Phone section, or even the Digital Camera section and find a card.  And then what if I buy the wrong card?

For me, the “memoryless” player only makes sense if you package the player with a card and let people buy the bundle they like.

I personally like the current idea of having “base” memory with add-on capability.  My Fuze, since I got the 8gb model,  has up to 40GB expandability, where as the 2GB model can only grow to 34GB…

A memoryless fuze would be limited to 32GB.  Unless there is a strong advantage, such as cost, or form factor for NOT including internal memory, I’m against it.

Message Edited by p_opus on 06-26-2008 11:15 AM

I have to agree with p_opus

My 2gb card I bought at a store was so  expensive  that I don’t even want to mention the price.  This was the only size available (no 4 gb or 8…I think the 4 was out of stock, but not sure).  I did accidentally buy the larger size card and have to return it and get the correct Micro size card. At first I didn’t think I would need an extra card, that 4gb would be enough, but nope. 

Plus occassionally I can’t put Podasts or Audiobooks in their section on the card (only once or twice it does not go in the correct area) they go into the song area (see audiobooks on fuzeif you have a solution, another user is having that problem too).  But the internal memory works to put them in the correct folder with drag and drop.

So having an internal memory is a good thing. 

Unless they can clear up some glitches and have a card come with it to begin with, it might be doable. 

The microSD prices are coming down

But, if the players didn’t have internal memory and were made to use microSDs, then they would iron out all the errors.

Message Edited by gabe565 on 08-18-2008 03:04 PM

There simply is no substitute for dedicated internal RAM on the device.  The processor has dedicated lines and system support for memory, separate from the µSD data lines.

Internal memory is a separate issue from embedded memory, or memory integrated into the SOC (system on chip).  The problem with the SOC memory is size; there’s never enough room in the device for much headroom in terms of capacity.  Memory on the circuit board can be of many different configurations, depending upon the manufacturer’s needs, and the SOC’s capabilities.

Once you dedicate your system to the µSD card, for example, everything is fed through that removable device.  And therein lies your main liability.  What happens when someone buys a counterfeit card, a rebadged FAT formatted card, when the 8GB logo on the face of the card is nothing more than a silkscreen atop a 512MB card?

They are going to be frustrated and pissed off at SanDisk, and not Joe Schmo who sold them a bogus card on eBay.  After all, it was a great deal, right? 

I would strongly warn against allowing your product to be limited by the least common denominator, as outboard memory will most undoubtedly do.

Bob  :smileyvery-happy:

Yeah, that does make sense. I like internal memory also because it’s harder for someone to steal a DAP than a SD card…