By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: SanDisk will take on Creative, Apple, Sony and Samsung in the flash-based mp3 player market this year with its Sansa range following the company’s announcement yesterday that it has dramatically expanded its distribution network to include Retravision, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks stores.

SanDisk first launched its Sansa mp3 players to the Australian market in the fourth quarter of 2005 exclusively through BigW stores, and has since built on existing retail relationships established through the distribution of its flash memory cards.

“Our value proposition to the customer with Sansa players is that we will have more capacity per price than our competitors with a feature set that will satisfy the majority of consumers. We will have twice the capacity at half the price,” SanDisk consumer products marketing director, Eric Bone, told yesterday during a visit to Australia for a series of discussions with retailers.

SanDisk currently holds the number two spot in the US market behind Apple after rapidly displacing Creative and iRiver during 2005.

The Sansa line-up currently consists of three product ranges starting at RRP $99.95, and will be expanded next month to include the flagship E200 series.

“We want to give sales staff a sell-up strategy with this range,” said Bone.

Models in the E200 series will range from 2GB (RRP $279) to 6GB (RRP $449) capacities, and feature a colour screen for video and image playback, a scrolling user interface and a MircoSD memory card slot for uprgradeable storage capacity.

SanDisk will promote its mp3 player range mainly through in-store advertising and training, and claims its products will deliver high margin and low return rates.

Last year SanDisk established its first Australian sales team headed-up by SanDisk country manager, ANZ – Josh Velling.