Following the announcement that SanDisk will attempt a renaissance of physical music media in the form of slotMusic MicroSD cards, the company is set to release an ultracheap Sansa MP3 player made specifically for the new album format. Dubbed the SanDisk Sansa slotMusic Player (creative, eh?), the device will sell for $19.99 and is possibly the simplest MP3 player I've laid hands on. There are virtually no features, no screen, and no internal memory. Simply pop a slotMusic card into the MicroSD slot on the left edge of the unit, plug the included headphones into the standard jack on the right edge, and hit play. Songs play in album order; you can pause playback and skip through tracks using buttons on the bottom of the device, and, of course, there are volume controls (by the headphone jack), but that about sums up the player's capabilities.
In fact, you don't even need a computer to use the Sansa slotMusic Player, and the package doesn't include a USB cable--there's no syncing port on the device anyway. Instead, SanDisk includes a USB adapter that can be plugged into the computer for transferring content directly to and from the card, and rather than having a built-in rechargeable cell, the unit is powered by a single AAA battery (rated for 15 hours), which is concealed beneath a removable faceplate that wraps around the player. (SanDisk plans to sell a variety of these "shells" in the future.) Although the device has a hefty and durable feel, it's relatively compact at 2.7 inches wide, 1.4 inches tall, and 0.6 inch deep. Put simply, this is SanDisk's digital answer to the original Walkman or the more recent Discman, without the heft or the skipping. And while the product model doesn't appeal to me or many other tech-savvy MP3 player owners, it could be just the transitional device needed to push feet-dragging friends or family into the MP3 age. (It's only 20 bucks, after all.)… Read more