We just squeezed into SanDisk's packed press conference and positioned ourselves expertly behind a flippin' hot projector vent. Don't worry, we'll sweat this one out for you guys.
12:09 (PST) - Eli Harari, Chairman & CEO, is chatting up the company, and is bragging about how they're about the launch into five new markets here at CES: Notebook (SSD), Desktop (Windows Vista/ReadBoost), Personal Video (Sansa View), WiFi/Community (Sansa Connect), Home (USBTV).
12:13 - These new products have SanDisk "movin' on up" the value chain.
"It's just not enough to be a flash memory supplier. We want to move beyond a commodity supplier and reach the end user."
12:16 - Eli is showing off a SSD-based laptop versus a boring old notebook, startup times on SSD bests conventional by 50%.
12:20 - After breezing by Contour, Eli is talkin' vertical integration and fabrication plants -- so exciting... all the way to the shelf, baby.
12:25 - USB TV video starts playing. "Now you can easily move content from any PC to your TV. Wait, haven't we heard this line before? Like 20 times this week? Can't say SanDisk is branding this quite a slickly as other people, but SanDisk is making it an open standard, which might help with device compatibility and content quantity.
Early partners include Guba, Movielink and Akimbo. Also teaming up with Pioneer, Mitsubishi and LG for device integration.
12:28 - "First end-to-end product from SanDisk."
12:29 - Next up is Eric Bone, here to talk video. "In two short years..." SanDisk just hopped into audio, but it's already doing pretty well for itself. SanDisk's motto is choice, for codecs, services and etc.
12:30 - Introducing the Sansa Express, Sansa View and Sansa Connect. Playin' a video to show 'em off. Not quite Samsung hip on a branding front, but the devices are still pretty hot.
12:32 - 1GB of memory, less than $60, with a memory slot to add another 2GB. Shipping in March.
12:33 - "We want to be really early in the video space." Uh, a bit late for that, guys. Introducing the Sansa View. "Simplicity is a proven way of expanding the overall market." Meaning: we're not stuffing in too many features (just video, music and photos) so like it.
12:35 - SD card slot supports SDHC, 8GB cards. About $300, available in March.
12:39 - Now it gets exciting. Here comes the SanDisk connect, SanDisk's WiFi enabled offering. Music syncing over WiFi (where you at, Zune?), direct music downloading from the internet, internet radio, share music recommendations with internet friends (not sure why we need an independent player to do that. Also can view photos straight from the internet. Zune is lookin' pretty bad right now.
"I'm a marketing guy, not a magician, but I can make the Sansa Connect go away by placing it behind this business card." He's right, it is small. Under $250 in March.
12:40 - And that's it, short and sweet. Time for Q&A.
Price on the USB TV?
Not yet defined, but eventually "very cheap."
Eli kind of evades that one.
How does the USB TV work?
Very carefully. Just joshing, we didn't actually pay attention to Eli's answer, since we're about to pass out from the heat here.
Looks like SanDisk is in a bit of a hot seat here, but SanDisk seems to think content providers are starting to figure it out.
"The usual suspects." Plus it's firmware upgradeable, so more on the way.
Sansa connect sharing looks to work over the internet as well as over ad hoc networks with other players.
Sansa view should be interoperable with video docks to display video on larger displays.
What keeps you up at night?
Sounds like content is on the brain. Eli wants less expensive and more available content globally. We all stand up and cheer. Not really.
And that's it, we're off to get some hands on time with these things, before we actually do pass out from this projector fan.