Real Networks embeds Rhapsody music service into Sandisk MP3 players

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Real Networks and Sandisk have partnered up to offer MP3 players with pre-loaded music and Real Networks' Rhapsody music service. A new "Sansa Rhapsody" player, based on the Sansa e200 player, will come with almost 32 hours of music from popular artists. The players will also synchronize purchased songs from Rhapsody into the players.

SanDisk's Sansa e200 series MP3 player, whose on-board flash capacity has just been boosted to 8 GB.

The Sansa Rhapsody players will have 2 to 8 GB of internal flash memory and can be upgraded to 10 GB with a micro SD card. Sony BMG, Universal Music and Warner music, along with some independent labels have granted permission to preload songs to the players. The players will also have an FM Tuner, FM and voice recording and a lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 20 hours.

Real Networks' Rhapsody service was launched in 2001 and claims to have more than 1.6 million subscribers. It was one of the first music services to provide virtually unlimited music downloads in a rent-like scenario. Desktop-based subscribers pay $9.99, while mobile users pay $14.99 per month to "rent" songs.