SanDisk on Tuesday unveiled its m200 series of flash-based MP3 players, the first higher capacity players to break the $100 USD price barrier while ensuring PlaysForSure compatibility. The SanDisk players will range in capacity from 512MB to 4GB.
The company's aggressive price structure could force other Windows-based audio player manufacturers to again lower prices. Many are already hurting financially due to price pressure from market leader Apple.
With a retail price of $79.99 USD for its 512MB model, SanDisk has priced the devices about a third less than competing players. For the most part, similar margins exist all the way up to the largest model - the 4GB m200 at a price of $199.99 USD.
"It is SanDisk's guiding principle to always provide superior value to its customers," Eric Bone, director of retail product marketing at SanDisk, said in a statement.
"One of the ways we have done this with the Sansa m200 line is to feature support for music subscription services and capacities that include a 4-gigabyte (GB) model for $199.99, made possible with our new 70-nanometer NAND/MLC 8-gigabit chip."
The player could potentially be the first true competition to anything from Apple due to its competitive price and support for subscription-based music services such as Napster, Real Rhapsody and Yahoo! Music Unlimited, according to analysts.
"[This is the] first serious flash-based device to support portable subscriptions [with] aggressive pricing," Jupiter Research senior analyst and vice president David Card said. "We think this could be an emerging sweet spot, especially when you can get a few hundred songs on a $100 device."
The SanDisk m200 players will be available immediately in the United States and in November across Europe.