RealNetworks, SanDisk partner to take on iPod

After persistent compatibility problems with Microsoft’s “Plays for Sure” format, RealNetworks has teamed up with SanDisk to offer a portable music player that works seamlessly with the company’s Rhapsody service. The Sansa Rhapsody will be based on SanDisk’s e200 player, which comes in 2GB to 8GB sizes and retails for $140 to $250. The player has a layer of RealNetworks’ own software, including copy-protection technology, to ensure compatibility.
Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reports that RealNetworks planned to build its own portable music player last year before partnering with SanDisk. “In the spring of 2005, Mr. Glaser got so fed up with the problems that a team of RealNetworks engineers began making prototypes of an iPod-like music player—code-named Joey, after the baby kangaroos that live in the pockets of their mothers—which RealNetworks planned to make itself. RealNetworks also flirted with the idea of buying a hardware maker.”

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