Just five years since Apple released iPods that integrate with iTunes, Apple foes Real Networks and SanDisk are teaming up in an attempt to emulate that iTunes/iPod ecosystem.
Real and SanDisk plan to release a portable media device that integrates support for Real's Rhapsody music service, according to The Boston Globe.
The product will be called the Sansa Rhapsody and will be available by Christmas in the US. It will be sold with hundreds of pre-loaded songs and a free trial to Real's Rhapsody to Go service.
The deal is also seen as a way the two firms can compete with Microsoft, which launched its own brand Zune music player and accompanying download service last week, to the displeasure of the majority of its existing partners.
"This is kind of a way for both Rhapsody and SanDisk to say, 'Well, if you're (Microsoft) gong to compete with us, guess what, we're gong to compete with you," analyst Phil Leigh of Inside Digital Media said.