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Roundup: SanDisk's iPod competitor, interactive billboards & more

The latest Silicon Valley-relevant tech stuff:

SanDisk's new Sansa to take on iPod -- SanDisk, the Milpitas company that is trying to give Apple a run for its money in the music player business, has come out with its new Sansa. The Sansa e280 has eight gigabytes of memory and can store about 2,000 songs, twice as many as the best-selling version of the iPod Nano. It has an FM radio, voice recording and a battery life a few hours longer than the iPod Nano. Both music players cost about $250 US and both use flash memory, but the Sansa e280 also has a memory expansion slot, meaning its capacity can be increased to 10 gigabytes. And it works will with both Windows and Linux, which could also give it a jump.

Search upgrades at Micrsoft, Yahoo -- First there is Microsoft Live, which has unveiled its new video search. More details on it at Oreilly. Next there is Yahoo, which is incorporating some Flickr photos in its search results, which are easy to pull because Flickr users tag their photos according to subject anyway.

Picaboo raises undisclosed amount of funding -- As sure as the lemmings will surge in packs together, Silicon Valley start-ups will feel pressure to raise money if their competitors do. So Palo Alto's Picaboo, which lets you publish photos into bound books, has -- surprise -- raised money around the same time as San Francisco competitor Blurb. The news comes via VentureWire (subscription only). Blurb raised up to $12 million, something we reported here (scroll down)

So now YouTube is worth $2.795 billion. The logic goes that if Grouper's 1 percent market share (according to Hitwise) gets it $65M, then why, YouTube's 45 percent share surely makes it worth $1 billion. But why stop there? How about $2 billion, if you use Comscore data? Or if you really do the Hitwise math seriously, you come up with $2.795 billion. The problem with this sort of analysis is that unique visitors, which this data market data is based on, isn't what matters (and even if it is, you have the statistics problem). More important is how much time someone spends on the site, and whether those people are looking at ads, and whether any investor or acquiring company will want anything to do with YouTube, given that it doesn't own a lot of the content, and is even getting sued.

Google has so much cash it has been forced to apply for an exemption from "investment fund" status -- Its balance sheet boats assets totaling $14.4 billion, including $4 billion in cash and $5.8 billion in marketable securities. Under the Investment Company Act of 1940, a company with more than 40% of its assets in certain types of securities is subject to different disclosure and operating rules.

CBS kicks off interactive billboards -- Notable story in the WSJ about how CBS has launched a campaign to stream clips of CBS' prime-time lineup to peoples' cellphones from static billboards within New York's Grand Central Terminal. They are using bluetooth technology, which can be used for short distances. Clearly this isn't strong enough to be used from highways, but how long do you think it will take some eager entrepreneur to think about throwing WiMax up onto billboards along Silicon Valley's 101?

Sunrocket, the Internet telephone company that lets you simply plug a regular phone into an adapter, has raised $33 million -- The backing includes several Silicon Valley firms, the company tells us in a release. The third round of funding came from the company's existing investors BlueRun Ventures, Mayfield Fund, DCM and Anthem Capital Management.

In other news:

--Azaire Networks, of Santa Clara, a player in the hot fixed mobile convergence area, has raised $20 million in third round of funding, according to a regulatory filing cited by PE Wire. Return backers include Convergence Ventures, Rustic Canyon Partners, Investor Growth Capital and Woodside Fund.

--ProtoStar, the San Francisco high-power geostationary satellite service provider, has raised $16.31 million in what appears to be the first stage of a second round of funding -- and including $4.62 million in convertible securities/warrants, according to PE Wire. VantagePoint Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates and RedShift Ventures, were the investors.

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