SanDisk has claimed the number two slot for MP3 player sales in the US.

The company sold one million digital music players over Christmas, while Apple sold 14 million such devices. SanDisk aims to be the "strong number two" in the digital music player market in the US.

"We already have the channels. We have the brand,'' SanDisk CEO Eli Harari told the Mercury News: "We are not Apple. We are not an iPod. But we have a highly respected brand.''

Harari has respect for Apple's achievements, explaining that the iPod nano "definitely accelerated" growth in the music player market – a market, he explained, that had "come on like a tornado".

Eric Bone, SanDisk's director of consumer product marketing conceded that Apple has market command, saying: "There are people who, no matter what, will buy an iPod. All I want is for people to think there is an alternative.''

SanDisk will launch its new flash-based Sansa range of digital music players next month.