SanDisk Announces the Sansa slotRadio

slotRadio player SanDisk Announces the Sansa slotRadio

Remember the SlotMusic Player? Similar idea and concept, SanDisk announces the slotRadio. This whole idea of very easy to use / ready to go digital music is what the “slot” genre players are all about. The slotRadio is $100 and comes with 1,000 Billboard Chart songs hand selected separated into various genres. The user will simply select the type of music on the player’s 1.5” OLED screen.

The catch is you will not be able to move the songs off the player, so it’s not like getting 1,000 songs at 10 cents each, though these cards will work in other mSD card players like the Sansa Fuze. Additional cards can be purchased for around $40 each with 1000 songs of a specific genre.

I’m still quite bearish on this new type of music format on a memory card. Possibly because I have yet to meet someone that would fall into this purchasing demographic. Or it could be that I’m working on no sleep for the last two days. I will opine further after I have had a chance to check it out first hand tomorrow. Press release after the jump.


CES 2009, South Hall, Booth # 30659, LAS VEGAS —January 7, 2009 – SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the inventor and world’s largest supplier of flash storage cards, today unveiled the new Sansa® slotRadio™ player and companion line of slotRadio music cards designed especially for the casual music consumer. The Sansa slotRadio player is a small, stylish, portable music device that comes bundled with a slotRadio card preloaded with 1,000 songs handpicked from the Billboard® charts, and professionally arranged into a variety of genre-themed playlists.

“slotRadio’s unprecedented simplicity will have even the most time-pressed music fans enjoying a huge range of music in no time,” said Daniel Schreiber, senior vice president and general manager, SanDisk. “1,000 handpicked songs in your pocket with zero downloads makes enjoying digital music easier than ever. Never before has music been this accessible.”

The immediacy of the plug-and-play model offered by the card-plus-player format ushers in a new way for consumers to enjoy music. To date, portable music devices typically required software installations, followed by time-consuming music selection and file-by-file downloading, topped off with cable connections and synchronization.

“slotRadio dramatically lowers these barriers, offering a genuine alternative to existing options,” said Noam Kedem, vice president of product management, SanDisk. “This makes slotRadio a perfect player for the pressed-for-time mom, the harried traveler, the can’t-stop-now fitness fanatic, as well as anyone who just wants to kick back and discover new songs, or re-discover a timeless favorite.”

The player comes bundled with a slotRadio mix card containing 1,000 songs. It features a variety of playlists from Billboard’s charts, including rock, contemporary, country, and others organized into themes such as “chillout,” “workout” and more. While songs cannot be removed from the card, users can easily navigate between the playlists, and skip through songs at the press of a button.

“slotRadio offers consumers a uniquely uncomplicated portable digital music experience, with the music discovery aspects of radio enhanced by consumer choice in genre selections,” said Susan Kevorkian, Program Director, Consumer Markets at IDC.

Priced at $99.99 (MSRP)—including the 1,000 song card—the die-cast aluminum player also features a 1.5” OLED screen for viewing artist and song information, a FM radio and even an integrated, handy belt clip for hands-free listening. Additional 1,000 song, genre-specific and themed slotRadio cards will be sold separately at $39.99 MSRP.

The Sansa slotRadio player is expected to be available for purchase online at slotradio.org and at stores nationwide in early 2009.

The Sansa slotRadio cards are designed to be interchangeable with any slotRadio player and will be also compatible with the Sansa® Fuze™ line of MP3 players.

The Sansa slotRadio Player expands SanDisk’s Sansa audio/video product family, which includes the recently introduced slotMusic™ player and cards for avid fans, the popular Sansa Fuze™ and the small Sansa® Clip. For more information on SanDisk’s Sansa audio/video product line, visit www.sansa.com.




24 Comments

William on January 7, 2009 3:24 AM

Very interesting…I’ll be waiting to see what happens with this device. :)

Lightosut565 on January 7, 2009 6:30 AM

How about some NEW actual mp3 players Sandisk. Not these Slot loading ones that only 2% of people are interested in.

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Ferd Burfel on January 7, 2009 9:42 AM

“I’m still quite bearish on this new type of music format on a memory card. Possibly because I have yet to meet someone that would fall into this purchasing demographic.”Like the slotMusic player, this won’t appeal to current DAP owners, nor is it meant to. The slotMusic and slotRadio players are targeted for a niche, and Sandisk is trying to crack that market. If you already own a Fuze or Clip or Zune or even an iPod, this player isn’t for you, so don’t waste your time with it (or complaining about it either.) But it will appeal to more people than Grahm realizes. As with the slotMusic player, it is targeted at those that don’t know how/don’t want to/etc. do all the ripping and syncing, they just want to listen to music. I know several people this might appeal to, and several situations that it might be good for. For example, my workplace has no radio reception at all, and 1000 “random” songs would take awhile to play through. Those of us with DAPs have already been enjoying that ability; this would bring that enjoyment to a larger group.

Grahm on January 7, 2009 11:40 AM

@FredI completely understand who they are trying to target this product at. But the problem is that you still have to teach them the concept of the new medium of a memory card- which is just a foreign if not more of a foreign concept to a tech illiterate as copying a CD to a device plugged into a computer. Its like SanDisk is creating a “problem” they can sell a fix to. I have had much experience introducing technoobs to MP3 players and it is far easier to show them how to rip CDs and sync them to their player than it is to teach them about this new medium. Not to mention where to buy slotMusic… everyone knows where to buy CDs.This device is like a static version of the Slacker and look at how well that did.

Steve on January 7, 2009 12:15 PM

Although I already have a DAP, when I first heard about the SlotMusic format I was interested simply because of its simplicity. For me, there are two main things that prevent me from considering purchasing a player or music in the format: (1) the sold music is in a compressed format when a 1gb card has more than enough space to hold an entire CD’s worth of music in an uncompressed form, and (2) the microSD card is just too small, I would have rather they used the standard size SD card that is commonly available and has some room for the user to mark the card.

MarvintheMartian on January 7, 2009 12:18 PM

I would much rather have seen a Clip with a microsdhc slot and a 30-hour battery, although I realize that is highly unlikely without making it the size of the Fuze. But, there are people out there with no interest in watching video on a 1.9″ screen, and if the Clip’s OLED display would be easier on the battery than what the Fuze uses, then bring it on Sansa!

skimhitz on January 7, 2009 12:48 PM

I can see how a player like this can fill a niche, but I think the hardest part would be getting that niche to find and adopt this player. Something like this would be perfect for my mother, but unless I were to tell her about it, she’s not going to go to a store, find this among the dozens of other players, and think “Hey, this looks much easier!” An mp3 player of any kind is still intimidating to her.Not to mention she still calls all mp3 players “iPods”. According to her, I have a “Sony iPod”. :P

Ferd Burfel on January 7, 2009 2:45 PM

@Grahm:You can’t teach somebody to rip CDs if they don’t have a computer. The idea is that the cards will be in the same stores the CD’s are in.

Drive-In-Freak on January 7, 2009 9:56 PM

Hmmm. Looks to me like a modern version of K-tel on a a modern version of the Elcaset!?I smell failure.I hope nobody who reads this has stock in SanDisk as this just may be one of the worst business moves of all time.What’s next? Is Creative going to come up with a new portable version of the Select-O-Vision?I can see it now..”New from Creative! Ronco presents 100 hit movies for $21.95!”

Zen on January 7, 2009 11:21 PM

Could be interesting.I kinda like the idea of not having any cables or software

Alan on January 8, 2009 12:00 AM

I wish Sansa the best, and I hope they can manage this thing in such a way as to make it a success.But it’s like people who say they can’t sell their house.That’s not true, I could sell their house in a minute. Put your house on the market for $1.00 and see how fast it sells. Now if you want to ask for more and more money, then fewer and fewer people will be interested in buying it.To give people who might want portable music a way to get it while avoiding all the intimidating issues of downloading and/or ripping could be quite appealing if the price was right.I don’t think it will be on the wish lists of young people. They want the same MP3 players their friends at school have.But for some, it could be their entry into portable music.How well the songs are programmed, how much of a value the player appears to be and how much time stores give Sansa shelf space to let the idea take hold is a whole other story.If someone picks it up and says “I like that song and that song, and oh, that song too. Well that’s x number of songs I like and x number I could care less about and the player costs y amount of money. Is what I’m paying for the songs I like worth it or maybe can I find someone who is savvy with this kind of thing do something like this for me with just songs I like that works out to be a better deal for me in the end, even if I give them a few dollars to set it up for me?” then you are totally in a value situation.If Sansa keeps the price on the high end, people will figure it might be better to have a kid, not mow the lawn or shovel the snow from the sidewalk, but set up an MP3 player. If Sansa lowers the price until it’s so low it’s just impossible to refuse then they could have a big hit on their hands.If it becomes a badge that says “I was ripped off because I was afraid to learn about portable music” or “This is the player for people who can’t afford a computer” or “This is the player with the old, out of date songs” people may shy away from it as well.How well are the selections programmed and will people think it’s a good deal for their money?That’s what’s going to determine if this is a success. If the record companies or Sansa get too greedy they will kill it before it ever takes off.(As far as K-tel is concerned, I just saw a K-tel vinyl record at a thrift store with some cool songs I remember from the seventies. It was like a little time capsule of what was popular. It’s what people did before “Now That’s What I Call Music” :-) )

Daniel G on January 8, 2009 5:10 AM

I can’t wait for these 1000-song slotRadio cards to be cracked, though…

Tobey on January 8, 2009 2:46 PM

This is something that would have done very well 9 years ago. But I don’t can’t this kind of system taking off today.

Tom on January 8, 2009 7:04 PM

Why is Sandisk blatantly ignoring the trend of removing DRM restrictions, since that’s what people clearly want? I mean, if even Apple is finally getting that picture, you’d think it would be pretty much universally accepted. Even I, as an owner of a “typical” MP3 player, might be willing to buy a mix and be introduced to new artists/genres, but only if I could move the songs I like to wherever I want. C’mon, Sandisk…you’re killing your own idea before you even start selling it!

Hillshum on January 8, 2009 8:01 PM

@Steve SanDisk is also aiming at cell phones as players–note the mp3 format instead of DRM only the slotmusic player can read

SansaRulez83 on January 9, 2009 2:45 AM

I like the idea. Don’t forget that you could always put your own microsd card into the slot player and those are pretty cheap now 8gb for 30 bucks. I’m always struggling to find new music because I get tired of listening to all the songs on the album that aren’t good. With something like this I could get an SD adapter and rock it in my D2 and be hearing all the music I would hear on the radio, if I really liked the radio that is.I just think that because this product makes us think about how we could use it, it seems useless at first to us. Give it some time to drum up steam people!

akadewboy on January 9, 2009 3:53 PM

I guess they didn’t get the message that cassettes are dead. I mean this is just basically a high capacity cassette player. They died for a reason…

imbored on January 9, 2009 7:36 PM

Cassettes died in part because a better-sounding, more durable format replaced them. CD’s were also SUPPOSED TO BE less expensive, but that part didn’t seem to work out, probably on purpose.It remains to be seen if flash memory is more durable than CDs. Right now CDs are more well-known, but I recall a time when the music stores were 45% LP, 45% cassette and 10% CD.

Sue on January 10, 2009 5:54 PM

$40 for 1000 songs? If they do a good job on the music selection I could see buying one of those cards.

Sirocco on January 13, 2009 2:07 AM

I’m finally converting my cassettes because my new car has a CD player, tape player wasn’t an option. At 192 kbps I can put about 5, 90-minute cassettes on a single CD (using the mp3 cd rather than the audio Cd standard). This.is.kinda.cool. Imagine playing the contents of 5 cassettes in random order. Not only do I avoid switching out tapes as often, but randomly accessing any song at will is mind blowing. I’m literally hearing my old (ah-hem) music as if for the first time. Putting this music on CD also spares my dap’s batteries, but the car CD player has a better amplifier anyway. Fortunately I have a dap that makes mp3 recordings in stereo and automatically makes a new file for each cassette side, and I have a dual deck relay play tape player, so I can digitize 2 cassettes unattended without using my PC, or investing in additional equipment. I break this out into tracks before burning onto a CD for the car, but was thinking about using the unbroken mp3 files, each containing an entire side of the cassette, 45 minutes, for my high-capacity dap, and treat them as virtual cassettes. This way I can take advantage of the programmed nature of my mix-tapes, where songs tend to seque naturally from one to another. While in the car I’m more inclined to jump around the tracks, and since the FF and REW are so slow, breaking into tracks is an advantage.

Sirocco on January 13, 2009 2:17 AM

Yes, $40 for 1,000 songs of a particular genre is actually a bargain. That’s 4cents/song! and no searching, downloading, tagging. This is definitely a breakthrough, and may open up new markets, plus give exposure to new artists. If ther’re doing the smooth jazz and chill genres I am sold.

Sirocco on January 13, 2009 2:50 AM

Author Skee states, regarding the $100 price of the slotRadio: “so it’s not like getting 1,000 songs at 10 cents each”. Well, I think it kinda is. For one, you can stick a recording device into the headphone jack and do some real-time copying. “Owning” a song doesn’t, historically, mean that the owner can make copies of the song willy nilly, like copying an LP onto a mix tape or CD. The digital revolution didn’t, legally, anyway, change the definition of “owning a song”. Grahm seems to imply that “owning” a song means the right to digitally copy music in spite of DRM. No, owning a song means the same as it always did, like with LP’s or cassettes. So, Grahm, you ARE getting 1,000 songs at 10 cents each, and a free dap to boot! This is a breakthrough, and a huge value. And $40 for 1,000 genre specific tracks is, quite frankly, I think, a typo.

Joe on January 16, 2009 10:48 PM

$39.99 for 1000 tracks is huge value, and no – it’s not a typo – I read the original press release…

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