Why SanDisk isn't doing much about the poor firmware

Hi everyone,

Anyone who has used this product for a while knows that the firmware isn’t excellent. It always does its “Building Database” thing, it’s missing lots of helpful features like the ability to delete files, and it sometimes crashes, losing the radio presets and other settings.

This has always puzzled me because SanDisk is otherwise a good manufacturer. Their memory cards and flash drives are excellent and, from what I’ve heard, their other audio players are good.

Now I think I have a possible answer: SanDisk didn’t make the Sansa Express. Look at the players on the following web page:


They look like the “spiritual successors” to the Sansa Express. They are the same hardware style (with the USB connector) and have the same yellow/blue screen style, a similar battery indicator, and other similarities. If someone else made the Sansa Express or owned its design (not necessarily Transcend, BTW), this could explain a lot.


I doesn’t really matter if SanDisk made it or someone else made it for them. The fact is that the Express is a discontinued product that SanDisk no longer markets. Therefor, they are no longer working on any firmware upgrades for it.

The same is true of the c200, e200, and many other models. In fact, even one of their current models that they are still selling (the View) they seem to have already quit working on any firmware for (and will very likely be discontinued as soon as SanDisk empties what remains out of their wharehouse).

The _only_ SanDisk Sansa players that have firmware being actively worked on for upgrades right now are the Clip, Fuze, slotMusic, and slotRadio devices.

Unfortunately, since other places continue to sell old stock out of their own wharehouses or sell “refurbished” (used, repaired, or rebuilt) old discontineud models… well, some people mistakenly believe they are purchasing current (or new) products.

With electroni devices these days, very often by the time a product even shows up in a store it is already a discontinued product by the manufacturer. Unfortunate, but true. As such, people really do now need to do a _lot_ of research before purchasing anything.

This still doesn’t excuse SanDisk from releasing what was basically an unfinished product in the first place. If you buy a product, it should work right away, not several months later (or never).

Furthermore, it is common decency for a manufacturer to support their product for several years. Although SanDisk has released a couple of firmware updates (the most recent in November of 2008), the firmware is still not “finished” in my opinion. When a discontinued product has bugless firmware, I completely understand when the manufacturer stops developing upgrades. However, this is not the case with this product.

I agree with you that people should do a lot of research before purchasing anything. It is just unfortunate that software, of all things, can let down otherwise good products.

Although I can fully understand your unhappiness with the situation, the sad truth is that _all_ electronic device comanies have been doing it for years already. So, it’s not something to get upset with just SanDisk about.

Electron device companies today begin production of products long before the software (firmware) is actually anywhere near completed. In fact, they seldom even get to test the software before the product(s) go out the door and are on their way to the stores. They have this belief that they can get a product on the market before the competition, and then fix any problems with it later on with firmware upgrades. I do not happen to agree with this idea, but yet that is exactly what they are all doing now.

Also, many companies move on quickly to making another product (again to stay ahead of competition) and totally drop everything for any previous product(s).

Apparently you do not buy very many electronic devices. I do and know the above to be true (and has been for years already).

I’ve got 4 Ethernet Routers (3 wireless), over 8 NAS devices, and countless other video and audio devices that I’ve purchased in the last 5 or 6 years. None of them worked correctly right out of the box, and all required updating firmware to even come close to working right. Some of these still do not work fully the way they were advertised to work even after multip firmware upgrades. Others, the companies did not even bother to provide any newer firmware for, or just quit work on any firmware upgrades to move on to other products instead.

I even had one DVD player that required a firmware update to get it to work correctly (and it still doesn’t do everything it was advertised to do).

It’s really a sad situation, but until people stop handing over their money for half backed products that have never even been fully developed and tested _before_ they go into production… well, sadly things are not going to change. Companies will just continue to do what they do best, and that is grab your money and run.

I blame this whole situation on Microsoft! After all, they seem to be the first to have come up with the idea of sell it first and then try to fix it later. I have no idea how that company remained in business. Even worse, I don’t know why so many others have decided to follow along with the same foolish kind of product production and marketing method.

I’ve actually used dozens of electronic devices with firmware. I agree that the problem of unfinished firmware is very common, but this example is one of the worst I’ve seen. Rather than having a few annoying bugs, this product is as bad as a cheap unbranded device from China. I really expected better from SanDisk.

you know what’s funny? I almost got the transcend usb player.

With the sansa I have, I regret not getting it to this day.

Has anyone experimented to see if the firmware or utilities will work eith the Express – and if so, what are the advantages etc?


I highly doubt you could force the Transcend firmware onto an Express (because of internal code checks done for proper firmware). Likewise, I’d highly doubt the other software would work with an Express either.

Firmware is seldom interchangable between devices, even if they look identical. For example, the Sansa e200 series has a V1 and V2 version. They both look exactly the same, but will reject trying to have the firmware for the opposite one put onto them.

If you want to know how they each work or sound you’d just have to buy one of each or find a store where you can compare them side by side.