SanDisk, the flash memory manufacturer, unveiled on Monday a model with 8gigabytes of storage capacity, enabling it to save up to 2000 songs - twice the capacity of the best-selling Nano.

The new player, dubbed the Sansa 280, will cost just under $US250, the same price as the largest capacity version of the Nano.

The most costly ingredient in a flash-based MP3 player is the flash memory. Since we make the flash memory, we essentially remove the middleman and pass that saving directly to the consumer, said Eric Bone, director of audio/video product marketing at SanDisk.

Market researcher NPD Group said Apple held 75.6 per cent of the digital music player market in the US in the second quarter, whereas SanDisk hoped to increase its market share from 10 per cent to 30-35 per cent.

Apple has plans to increase memory capacity of its flash based players in next generation models, some experts contend. Researcher Shaw Wu of American Technology Research said late last month that the price points of new iPod-nano models will remain the same at $199 and $249, but that storage capacities will be doubled to 4GB and 8GB.

SanDisk, which was founded in 1988 and has grown to become the world's largest supplier of flash memory data storage products, is a distant second behind Apple in the market for flash memory-based players.