Fourth CES Favorite: SanDisk Sansa Connect

One of the problems with MP3 players is that they need to be tethered to a computer to receive content; you can’t deliver it on the fly over the air. Now you can with the introduction of the Sansa Connect, which will be available in March, and I’ll tell you more about it then. The prototype model at CES was a big hit and even garnered a coveted C/NET Best of CES 2007 award.

The Connect comes with 4 GB of built-in storage, enough for about 1000 tunes. It also has a micro-SD slot for infinite expansion. Its sleek, shiny black case measures 2.05x3.58x0.63 inches, sports a 2.2-inch screen, and will cost $249.

What makes the Connect so special is its fast 802.11g wireless technology that enables it to connect to the Internet at any hotspot to receive data. Now you can download new tunes and listen to Internet radio live, which is a huge step forward in the MP3 world.

In some ways, the unit is a step backwards, however. First, it has a goofy antenna sticking up on the top left that makes it look like a Treo 700 series cousin. It does not have video playback capability, which most other Sansa models feature--what a waste of that nice color screen. It does not have an FM radio tuner either. I suppose that is because you can listen to Internet radio. But, you have to be connected to do that, and you can listen to FM radio anywhere, anytime. I wonder why it only comes with 4 GB. Of yeah, SanDisk is in the business of selling memory cards. Do you suppose that has something to do with it?

One of my chief complaints for all MP3 players including iPods is that they do not have Bluetooth capability, and you have to go around with dangling wires hanging out of your ears. What a nuisance. However, I did discover one MP3 player that will be available in a couple of months. Why haven’t other developers figured out this no-brainer feature?

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