Finally. Unlike Microsoft’s crippled Zune, the SanDisk Sansa Connect lets you connect to any open Wi-Fi network, and lets you download unlimited music from Yahoo’s subscription Unlimited To Go service, which is $15 a month or $12 a month if you buy a year in advance. You can also listen to Yahoo’s LaunchCast radio service for free.
Sounds like there might still be a few bugs to work out with the software syncing–apparently, it doesn’t sync downloads very well–and it’s only 4GB, which is too small for folks with large local music libraries (like me), but the fact that you can now have access to 2 million songs anytime, anywhere, is a significant change. And it looks like they beat a similar iRiver/Rhapsody device to market.
If Microsoft had launched Zune with this feature, it would have gotten way more attention. Now they’re going to be playing catch up.
Of course, Apple might be right–it might turn out that consumers want to own their music and aren’t interested in subscription services like this. But at least the choice is now out there.