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SanDisk Sansa slotMusic Player and Cards

I've discussed the new SanDisk slotMusic card format for selling music "albums" on microSD cards (see previous posts), and now I've had a chance to try it out.

The slotMusic card format is designed for easy access -- it's just have standard MP3 files stored on standard memory cards with no copy protection.

The cards are readily playable in billions of mobile phones with microSD slots, the files can be copied to other devices, and the card can be used for other data storage.

Some 30 to 40 titles have been released in slotMusic format, and are available for around $14.99, from SanDisk, and from Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

For example, the slotMusic version of the Robert Thicke album, Someting Else, has a Music folder with the 12 MP3 tracks, plus bonus material: an Extras folder with a few photos of Thicke and a Video folder with three music clips and an interview. And all that uses 530 MB, so almost half the capacity of the card is still available.

(The photos are a mix of low and high res, JPEG and TIF, and the videos are each in three formats: 3GP for phones, MP4 for PC playback, and AVI for the Sansa Fuze.)

The slotMusic titles are packaged in a CD-sized case with a slide-out plastic insert. The case has front and back album cover art and information, with a small booklet inside the back. The plastic insert has a perforated tab to rip open easily -- but then has no provision for closing it back up to store your music. SanDisk says this is a known issue, and the product should have a way to store the card conveniently in the CD case packaging.

The plastic insert contains the slotMusic card with the music, a small plastic storage case, and a mini USB adapter. The storage case has the front cover album art to identify it, which is important because the card itself does not identify its contents -- It just has the slotMusic and microSD logos, not the album or artist information.

To play the music, slip the slotMusic card into your mobile phone or other portable device, or onto your PC (using the included USB adapter).

If you want a separate playback device, there's also the new SanDisk Sansa slotMusic Player -- designed to be simple and inexpensive ($19.99), since it just plays microSD cards -- there's no internal memory and no display.

The player has simple controls -- play/stop, forward/reverse, and volume up/down. The slot in the player is on one end, and is spring-loaded, so the card inserts firmly and is recessed in the player body.

There's also no PC / USB interface for transferring files (that's what the microSD card is for) -- or for recharging an internal battery. Instead, the player uses a removable AAA battery, so it's significantly huskier than the iPod shuffle and other minimalist players.

For big music fans, SanDisk offers bundles with a slotMusic album and associated slotMusic Player for $34.99 -- with the player customized with the album art.

See my Portable Media Players Gallery for more on the Sansa slotMusic player and other music and video players

See full article -- SanDisk slotMusic - A New Music Format

Manifest Tech Site