updated 11:05 am EDT, Tue June 10, 2008
SanDisk Buys MusicGremlin
SanDisk today said it has bought out MusicGremlin for an undisclosed amount. The deal is meant to give the Sansa player manufacturer access to the smaller company's still rare direct-download subscription service, which allows members to download an unlimited number of songs each month to the player itself via Wi-Fi rather than first transferring them to a PC. The features will have a "key role" in future Sansa devices, according to SanDisk's Sansa Senior VP Daniel Schreiber.
The California company briefly tried offering a similar feature in the past through its Sansa Connect player, which tapped Yahoo's then-active unlimited music subscription service for nearly the same functionality. The closure of Yahoo's service this year will require SanDisk to search for a new partner for any future projects.
Such features have been considered one of the primary advantages of the MusicGremlin and SanDisk players over rivals; users of Apple's iPod touch can download songs but must pay by the track or album, while the Zune has had Wi-Fi since 2006 but has been limited to temporary song swaps between local users as well as wireless synchronization when the player is docked. Newcomer Chinese firm Haier's Ibiza Rhapsody is currently the only active player on the market beyond MusicGremlin's to allow direct subscription downloads.