SanDisk whipped the sheet off its new Sansa slotRadio Player at CES and the slotRadio music cards that go with it.
The Sansa slotRadio itself is a straightforward MP3 player – small, stylish and blessed with a 1.5-inch OLED display for viewing song information.
The twist here is that the slotRadio Player comes supplied with a slotRadio card preloaded with 1,000 songs. Split into genres, it's like carrying around a radio station. Or the modern equivalent of a mix-tape.
The 'anti-download' player
"slotRadio's unprecedented simplicity will have even the most time-pressed music fans enjoying a huge range of music in no time," says SanDisk's Daniel Schreiber.
"1,000 hand-picked songs in your pocket with zero downloads makes enjoying digital music easier than ever. Never before has music been this accessible."
SanDisk's argument is that most digital music players require software installations, downloads, playlist synchronization and music library management.
The slotRadio concept avoids all this by jettisoning the personalisation aspect. While you'll be able to buy additional slotRadio cards to extend your random listening, owning a slotRadio could feel a lot like listening to somebody else's iPod.
Random song discovery
Of course, SanDisk hope you'll discover new music by owning a slotRadio. Or you could just listen to the real radio. And buy the songs you like from iTunes or the Amazon MP3 store.
So who's it aimed at? According to SanDisk, the slotRadio is the "perfect player for the pressed-for-time mom, the harried traveller, the can't-stop-now fitness fanatic, as well as anyone who just wants to kick back and discover new songs."
If that's you, the slotRadio Player will cost $99.99 (including a 1,000 song memory card). Extra cards will reportedly cost $39.99. No word yet on whether it will cross the pond to UK and European stores.