New Technology Platform Enables Seamless End-to-End Rhapsody Music Experiences on Consumer Electronics Devices
SEATTLE and MILPITAS, Calif. - September 18, 2006 - RealNetworks®, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNWK) today announced the launch of Rhapsody DNA, a new technology platform that enables device makers to deliver a seamless, Rhapsody experience to consumers via a broad range of portable, mobile, and in-home devices. In conjunction, Real announced that it is teaming with SanDisk® Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) to integrate Rhapsody DNA into Sansa MP3 players this fall in the United States.
The RealNetworks/SanDisk partnership will feature groundbreaking new features embedded in a line of SanDisk's Sansa e200 series of portable players. The collaboration will allow consumers to personalize their device and take full advantage of both Rhapsody's subscription model and SanDisk's flash-based MP3 player capabilities and capacity.
The e200s with the special Rhapsody DNA platform will come equipped with nearly 32 hours of pre-loaded music from hundreds of the world's most popular artists on EMI Recorded Music, SONYBMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, as well as leading independent labels.
The players also include unique capabilities, such as automatically updating with new music based on a consumer's personal tastes and historical music preferences.
"Rhapsody DNA is an amazing innovation that puts the celestial jukebox into the consumer's pocket," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO, RealNetworks. "We can't imagine a better launch partner than SanDisk. Together, Real and SanDisk will soon deliver great new end-to-end experiences that make it easier and more fun than ever before for consumers to discover and enjoy music."
"We're excited to be working with Real to be the first to offer the Rhapsody DNA on our feature-rich, high-capacity Sansa players with the acclaimed Rhapsody service," said Eli Harari, president and chief executive officer, SanDisk. "This partnership with Real demonstrates SanDisk's commitment to bring consumers an array of options on how they receive and enjoy their music."
"Real has developed a unique way of introducing consumers to new music with the Sansa with Rhapsody player," said Charles Goldstuck, President, Bertelsmann Music Group. "It's an exciting development for music fans and we are looking forward to working with Real to make the Sansa launch a success."
The Sansa e200 MP3 player line includes the 8GB Sansa e280 that includes the ability to add 2GB1 of additional music via a microSD card. With a total of 10GB of memory, the e280 is one of the world's largest capacity flash-based MP3 players. Also available in 2, 4 and 6 GB capacity, the e200 includes award-winning audio, photo viewing and video clip playback capabilities; digital FM tuner; on-the-fly FM recording2 ; voice recording with a built-in microphone, and a user replaceable and rechargeable Lithium Ion battery for up to 20 hours of battery life3 .
Rhapsody DNA gives OEMs and device partners like SanDisk a world-class platform they can use to compete on a one-to-one basis with other end-to-end music experiences. Although Rhapsody DNA can operate on devices that are compatible with -and include-- Microsoft's PlaysforSure platform, Rhapsody DNA does not depend on Microsoft technology in any way.
The Rhapsody DNA platform is based on Real's Helix digital rights management and includes a number of enabling and optimizing technologies that allow partners to take full advantage of Rhapsody's unlimited access model. With Rhapsody DNA users can access their music across different types of devices. Real and SanDisk cooperated closely to optimize SanDisk's Sansa e200 players to work seamlessly in the new Rhapsody DNA environment.
In addition to SanDisk, Real is currently working with several other device manufacturers to integrate support for the Rhapsody DNA platform. One of these partners is Sonos®, Inc., which last week released Sonos System Software 2.0, a software update to its digital music system whose revolutionary direct-to-service architecture is powered by the Rhapsody DNA platform and made possible through close technical collaboration between Real and Sonos.
RealNetworks pioneered the unlimited access music service model, and currently leads the market for those services with more than 1.625 million subscribers for Rhapsody and its other premium music services. Since launching in 2001, Rhapsody has received multiple industry awards and honors. In 2006, PC World honored Rhapsody with a 2006 World Class Award in its annual list of "100 Best Products" and Entertainment Weekly named Rhapsody one of its "25 Best Music Websites," the latest in a string of honors for Rhapsody. In 2005, Rhapsody received several honors, including PC World's Best Buy Award, PC Magazine's Best of 2005 Award for "Best Music-Streaming Service," and a designation as "Best Online Music Subscription Service" in CNET's list of Top 100 Products for 2005.
ABOUT SANDISK CORPORATION
SanDisk is the original inventor of flash storage cards and is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products, using its patented, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is headquartered in Milpitas, CA and has operations worldwide, with more than half its sales outside the U.S.
ABOUT REALNETWORKS, INC.
RealNetworks, Inc. is the leading creator of digital media services and software including Rhapsody®, RealPlayer® 10, and casual PC and mobile games. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and enterprises use RealNetworks' products and services to create and deliver digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices. Consumers can access and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks' consumer software at http://www.real.com. RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located at http://www.realnetworks.com.
SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Sansa and TrustedFlash are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation. SD and microSD are trademarks. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder (s). RealNetworks, Rhapsody are trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
1 1 gigabyte (GB) equals 1 billion bytes.
2 FM tuner and FM recording not available in Europe
3 Based on continuous playback at 128 kbps MP3
SanDisk's product and executive images can be downloaded from
SanDisk's web site/home page address: http://www.sandisk.com
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, including expectations for new product introductions, applications, markets, and customers that are based on our current expectations and involve numerous risks and uncertainties that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate. Risks that may cause these forward-looking statements to be inaccurate include among others: market demand for our products may grow more slowly than our expectations or there may be a slower adoption rate for these products in new markets that we are targeting, and the other risks detailed from time-to-time in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, Form 10-K and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. We do not intend to update the information contained in this press release.