ARCHIVE: November 2005

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November 29, 2005

Motorola iRadio Competes at GadgetFest 2005

Motorola iRadio goes up against the competition...Motorola iRadio will compete tomorrow in the CommNexus GadgetFest 2005 against four other “Multi-Media” products presented by Sony (Location Free TV), TelEvolution, Entropic (Digital Home Module), and Sling Media. Three mobile analysts will judge the presentations to determine which gadget will be named the “ultimate survivor.” (I hear a potential reality show concept here...)

May the best mobile win.

(If you're attending, and take pics, please send them over!)

UPDATE: Motorola won the Cell Phone category! (But not in the multimedia category) More info on Motorola's vicotry here.

November 28, 2005

Motorola iRadio To Announce Exclusive Artist Channels

The new LeAnn Rimes iRadio Channel...Motorola iRadio will launch 8 iRadio Artist Channels featuring Universal Music Group artists, including LeAnn Rimes and Trish Yearwood, according to an inside source. The announcement will take place at this week's DEMX 2005 conference.

In doing so, Motorola iRadio will enter the name game war waged between Sirius and XM satellite radio. XM has armed itself with Opie and Anthony, and Sirius with Howard Stern, plus a bunch of other personalities. It's sort of a symbolic throwing-down-of-the-gauntlet in the radio arena for Motorola iRadio.

A quick thought, Motorola may also want to consider bringing aboard 5-10 top podcasters whose casts are currently available in iTunes. It could be a great way to both educate the podcast-consuming public of iRadio's existence, as well as generate a lot of buzz (among podcasters most of all - bloggers and podcasters love any news that validates their mediums... :) ). Easy press, baby.

I'll post more information about the announcement as soon as I have it, as well the results of the DEMX awards.

Stay tuned...

November 26, 2005

This Week's Carnival of the Mobilists

This week's Carnival of the Mobilists is hosted by Russell Buckley at Smart Mobs. As always, some of the best writers in the wireless space contribute their musings each week -- great stuff. Kudos to Russell for getting the job done on a holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

November 24, 2005

Motorola RAZR Magenta

The MOTORAZR Magenta will be available through T-Mobile on November 25th.

Does another color really require another press release? :)

See RAZR Magenta photos and video

November 23, 2005

Motorola iRadio: Precursor To Mobile iVideo?

Video delivery to portable devices has become an especially hot item, lately, with the video iPod, TiVoToGo, and PSP all making recent headlines.

How difficult would it be to create a wi-fi enabled Motorola iVideo service using iRadio as a model? I posed the question to a source within iRadio, and received the answer: it would be easy.

Consider these tidbits:

* Motorola currently manufactures every type of hardware required to send video to customers' homes, supplying many major cable companies with said equipment. Motorola happens to be the #1 manufacturer of DVRs in the US. I.e. offering the hardware would be easy.

* Motorola's Connected Home business has laid out all the broadband and wireless infrastructure necessary to deliver content throughout home networks. Video delivery would be easy.

* Motorola already has existing relationships with many of the major video content companies, such as HBO, Showtime, etc. through its cable business. Content acquisition would be easy.

* With the launch of iRadio, the infrastructure for running a video content business will be in place (call center support, subscription billing, download billing, etc -- all new to a hardware/electronics company like Motorola).

So, will Motorola launch an "iVideo Network"? Dave Ulmer, marketing director of Digital Media Solutions, made it clear that video is very much on their radar in a recent interview.

Look for iRadio to launch in all its Bluetooth glory in January. Then look for Motorola iVideo follow in its footsteps, according to Dave, 'if and when the market is ready.' First things first, I guess.

Motorola and Nokia Leading Cell Phone Sales

TheStreet.com gives a run down of 3rd Quarter cell phone sales performance. Nokia and Motorola seem to be at the top.

For kicks, I checked out the Top Selling Phones at Amazon, a list which is updated hourly:

1. Motorola RAZR V3 BLK Phone (Cingular)
2. Motorola E815 EV-DO Phone (Verizon Wireless)
3. Motorola RAZR V3 Phone (T-Mobile)
4. Motorola RAZR V3 Phone (Cingular)
5. Motorola V276 Phone (Verizon Wireless)
6. Motorola V330 TMO to Go Prepaid Phone (T-Mobile)
7. LG VX8100 EV-DO Phone (Verizon Wireless)
8. Nokia 6010 TMO to Go Prepaid Phone (T-Mobile)
9. Nokia 6102 Phone (Cingular)
10. T-Mobile Sidekick II Phone (T-Mobile)

The RAZR is all over the place...

UPDATE: Funny, Mobile Tracker pointed out the same list above, but also mentions WireFly's Top 10 Cell Phone list, which is a static, cumulative list.

November 21, 2005

Motorola iRadio VH1 Video Clips

I mentioned the Motorola iRadio VH1 demo earlier. If you missed the interview with Dave Ulmer, you can check out a video clip here.

(via MySpace/iRadio)

XM + Napster Beta Launched

XM and Napster recently launched the XM + Napster beta in the form of a 14-day free trial for current XM subscribers. According to the press release:

XM + Napster allows XM subscribers to listen to more than 70 XM music channels on the XM Radio Online service and access Napster's massive catalog for on-demand listening, purchasing, and downloading.

On a related note, XM Radio released Pocket XM Radio on Friday, which allows XM access on MS-based Smartphones. Screenshots available here.

Another player enters the music discovery + music purchasing solution market. Interesting stuff.

(via Orbitcast and MocoNews)

November 18, 2005

Carnival of the Mobilists #6

The sixth Carnival of the Mobilists, a weekly aggregation of content from a number of mobile bloggers around the web, was hosted by Pondering Primate yesterday. There were some amazing stories this week -- my favorite contribution was written by the Primate himself, talking about how Google will introduce advertising on mobile screens based on location. Good stuff.

November 16, 2005

Motorola History: Car Dashboards and the iRadio Telematics System

Despite public perception, Motorola iRadio was NOT first announced in January of 2005.

Motorola's deep, dark secret...iRadio was once the 'iRadio Telematics System'Following a trail of old press releases, you can trace iRadio's origins to a Motorola announcement made at CES 2000. At that time, iRadio was referred to as the iRadio Telematics System, an internet radio and telematics prototype delivering music, news, voicemail, weather, stock info, driving directions, ecommerce, etc. to cars via web access, satellite, digital cellular, and FM sideband technologies. (I found an old iRadio Telematics photo here)

The iRadio brand has since evolved. Motorola 1) transformed iRadio into a music-focused discovery and delivery solution, 2) made the mobile phone the central storage and delivery device within the solution, 3) added a time-shifted radio model similar to podcasting, and 4) incorporated "side loading" and Wi-Fi technologies to tie the mobile system together.

The Motorola teams involved have changed as well. iRadio was originally being developed by Motorola's Telematics Communications Group, led by general manager Marios Zenios. In 2000, Marios emphasized the role of iRadio telematics in automobiles, "Motorola's iRadio will bring a wireless Web connection to cars, transforming the driving experience. ... iRadio is designed to make Web content easy to access, manage and control." Now, Motorola iRadio is now owned by Motorola Media Solutions, with Dave Ulmer, Director of Marketing, and Paul Alfieri, acting as primary spokesmen.

Why did iRadio's feature set change? Not sure. Delayed adoption of advanced mobile netwoks in the United States probably posed the most serious technical barrier to delivering multimedia wirelessly. The growing popularity of PDAs, mp3 players, and iPods probablyalso influenced the decision to further leverage Motorola's growing success in the mobile device market. Perhaps satellite radio's growing popularity in car dashboards also suggested additional differentiation was necessary. Or the lack of a single solution that integrated music streaming, purchasing, transporting, and storage presented an opportunity to Motorola.

Whatever the reasons for the evolution, NPD Research seems to think Motorola is moving in the right direction.

If you'd like to follow Check out iRadio history in the making:

* Motorola Unveils iRadio At CES 2000; Wireless Web Access Coming Soon to a Car Near You (Jan 2000)
* Motorola Envisions Wireless 'Dashboard of the Future (March 2001)
* Motorola Offers Sneak Peak of New iRadio™ Solution at Demo@15 Conference (Feb 2005)
* Recent Dave Ulmer interview (Nov 2005)

What happened between 2001 and 2006? Perhaps someone from Motorola can fill us in?

November 14, 2005

Mobile Radio: iRadio, Sirius, MSpot, Rhapsody Review

Sue Marek at WirelessWeek takes a look at some of the big mobile music offerings including Motorola iRadio, Sirius Satellite Radio, MSpot Radio, and Rhapsody To Go. Different players are touting different value propositions:

Motorola iRadio: Technology Innovation
Paul Alfieri, Motorola spokesman: iRadio links music discovery to acquisition on the mobile handset.

Sirius Satellite Radio: Content
Jim Collins, Sirius spokesman: "Content and programming will drive this business. Our retention rates are high."

MSpot Radio: Integrated Offering
Daren Tsui, CEO: “We want to leverage wireless with the online and tie it together."

Drew Hull, research director of mobile content at NPD Research, talked about Motorola iRadio: “Hull says the Motorola solution is a step in the right direction because it encourages consumers to build their personal music collection and incorporates many different elements such as streaming music, downloading and purchasing.”

Indeed, Motorola is covering a lot of ground with its solution, both in mobile music delivery (streaming, downloading, purchasing) and experience (car stereos, mobile phones, home stereos). It’s an impressive platform, but a complex one. Successfully communicating that message to customers will be one of their biggest challenges when launching iRadio.

(via MocoNews)

November 11, 2005

Carnival of the Mobilists

Every week, one mobile blog hosts the Carnival of the Mobilists, a weekly collection of content submitted by some of the best writers and analysts in the mobile space.

This week's Carnival was hosted by Troy Norcross of the Mobile Marketing & Spam blog. Be sure to check it out for the top stories in the mobile industry this week!

This week's contributors:
Walter Adamson from imodestrategy.com
Dennis at WapReview
Howard at SmartMobs
Vangorilla at the Pondering Primate
Darla Mack - the Mobile Diva at her personal blog
Alan Moore from Communities Dominate
Russell Buckley from MobHappy
Rudy De Waele over at M-Trends
C. Enrique Orit'z at his personal blog
Ajit from Open Gardens
David Taylor at Mobile Marketing Magazine
Oliver from Mobile Weblog
Me
And, of course Troy himself.

DEMX 2005 Award Finalists Announced: iRadio Nominated 2x

Motorola iRadio was nominated for two Digital Entertainment & Media Excellence Awards in the Music category, yesterday. Not too shabby for a service that hasn't hit store shelves yet!

Motorola is up against some serious heavy-hitters that generated a lot of buzz this year. Will iRadio's 2006 launch date hamper Motorola's chances? You can witness the drama for only $175 per Awards Dinner ticket!

iRadio was nominated as a finalist for:

DIGITAL MUSIC INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
"Awarded to the technology, application, platform, accessory or device that has had the most profound impact on the music industry by revealing a new approach or idea that is leading the industry in a new direction."
* Motorola’s iRadio Service
* Groove Mobile’s Complete Music Gateway
* Napster to Go
* Sonos Digital Music System

BEST RADIO SERVICE
"Awarded to the best radio service (digital, Internet, satellite or other format) with respect to variety, innovation and user experience."
* Motorola iRadio
* AOL Radio Network
* Yahoo! Music’s LAUNCHcast Radio Service
* XM Satellite Radio

Way to go, Moto. Other awards and finalists in the MUSIC category include:

BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY BY AN ARTIST
50 Cent and Vivendi Universal Games for “Bulletproof”
Coldplay and Cingular
Lil’ John
Prince and the NPG Music Club

BEST DOWNLOADABLE OR SUBSCRIPTION MUSIC SERVICE
Apple iTunes
Napster
RealNetworks’ Rhapsody 25
Yahoo! Music Unlimited

MUSIC DVD OF THE YEAR
Chick Corea Akoustic Band, Geneon Entertainment
Cream Royal Albert Hall, Reprise / Rhino
Live 8 Concert, EMI Music
Paul McCartney Live in Red Square, Blink Digital

Finalists in the "Best of Show", "Games", and "Film, TV & Video" categories can be found here. (Note: Napster To Go was nominated for Innovator of the Year, strongly suggesting it will win the 'Digital Music Innovation' award)

November 10, 2005

Mobile Music Consumption Increasing

A TNS study determined that globally, nearly 35% of mobile phone users “chose mobile music as one of the top ranking applications they would like to start using, or use more of in the future”. The study breaks down music consumption by device and location…so, would a Motorola iRadio subscriber be considered a mobile music consumer, car stereo music consumer, or PC music consumer? I’ll let TNS figure that one out…

More at Indian Television.

(via Moco News)

November 09, 2005

Interview With Dave Ulmer of Motorola

Dave Ulmer, Sr. Director of Marketing for Motorola Media Solutions, was recently interviewed by Steve Gordon, an entertainment attorney specializing in digital transmission of entertainment content, about the upcoming Motorola iRadio music service. You can check out the full recording (~35 min) here.

It’s a nice wrap-up of Motorola's current iRadio plans for the 2006 launch. I’m including an outlined summary of some of the main points covered below.

iRadio's Big Idea:
* Motorola iRadio lets you carry commercial-free, internet radio along with your personal music collection, in an iRadio-enabled cell phone. Adding a twist, your phone communicates with your car or home stereo via Bluetooth so you can listen to the music in your car or at home.

Cell Phone Support:
* Dave explained that cell phone manufacturers have committed to providing iRadio-ready phones containing 2 GB of memory, Wi-Fi, and 3D speakers to support iRadio. There will be a large number of cell phones offering CD-quality potential sound.
(They didn’t discuss the cost of such phones. I’m assuming my tiny LG won’t suffice…I’m sure manufacturers are itching to get a piece of the mobile music pie…)

iRadio Subscription:
* The iRadio subscription service will cost about $7 per month.
* 200 internet radio channels will be available immediately, to grow to 400 soon after.
(Dave pointed out that the service will cost less than and offer more radio stations than satellite radio. No satellites = reduced costs = lower prices for consumers…)

Music Licensing:
* Steve asked about how Motorola licenses music for iRadio services. Dave discussed the recent Universal deal, Sound Exchange licenses (used for webcasting services), and direct licenses with independent artists through the Get Heard Network.
(Look for Warner, Sony, and BMG to follow soon...)

Get Heard Network:
* Independent artists, labels, and webcasters will be able to create their own “radio programs” through the iRadio Get Heard Network, which recently launched. Indies are already signing up in growing numbers.
(As I mentioned earlier, they’re killing two birds with one stone – generating additional content at no cost, and creating a word-of-mouth buzz campaign akin to MySpace’s music promotion tool program… An excellent strategy.)

iRadio Installation:
* Installation requirements will depend on the car. However, the car stereo will indeed need to be removed to make it iRadio-compatable, so some knowledge is required. A network of professional installers has been trained nationwide to assist customers as necessary. The total cost, including hardware and installation, will be about $150. (In comparison, Sirius satellite radio requires full radio replacement, which can cost about $300.)
* Pre-Installation in cars would be ideal, but the auto manufacturing industry moves slowly. Current pre-installation discussions apply to cars manufactured in 2009..!

iRadio Subscriber Potential:
* Dave said Motorola sold 15,000,000 phones last month. Compare that to 10,000,000 total satellite radio subscribers.
(It’s going to be an interesting challenge for Motorola to lure away iPod, XM, and Sirius users. Fans of internet radio may be the best niche target segment for iRadio…or cell phone customers that want less electronic crap to carry around…)

Music Delivery:
* Most music will be delivered via PC. Some will be delivered over air. An intelligent combination of caching and “side loading” (PC delivery to portable device) enables CD-quality audio via phones and car stereos.
* Some phones already exist that can carry 10 hours of music. Future phones will carry 5x that amount.
(How important is CD-quality to most people? Mp3 files satisfy most users. But, once you’ve heard hi-fi, can you go back? :) )

iPod Killer:
* Dave emphasized that Motorola does not see iRadio as an iPod killer, but as an iPod complimentor. Motorola promotes consumer choice, which iRadio facilitates; iRadio is a service, not a device.
(And of course, who could possibly “kill” the iPod?)

iRadio VIDEO:
* Yes, Motorola does see a video component in iRadio’s future. They’re using a “watch and wait” strategy to see what kind of market develops for video content.
(iTunes’ recent boon with video sales represents market validation to me...!)

There you have it. Click here to listen to Steve Gordan’s interview with Dave Ulmer.

November 08, 2005

Get Heard Network Now Live

iRadio-Network.jpg

The iRadio Get Heard Network website is now live! Dave Ulmer, director of marketing for Motorola Media Solutions, told VH1 about the site launch in a clip that was aired on Sunday. (See pictures of VH1 interviewing Dave at Music Player Live! here).

The iRadio Get Heard Network website looks quite good, actually. It includes demos explaining the scoop to indie artists, indie labels, and webcasters that are thinking about joining, as well as general iRadio info. Get Heard Network participants can apply to the Get Heard Network, to eventually create their own "radio programs".

iRadio network members will be able to:
* Create radio programs
* Reach a national audience
* Add programming constantly, even via phone
* Track when stations are being played, how many people are listening
* Earn money through web royalties, as well as CD and download sales
* Participation is free

Again, I must say, this is pretty cool stuff. Motorola is simultaneously building out a word-of-mouth marketing force along with a content-generating community through the Get Heard Network. By the time iRadio launches in January, Motorola could very well have several pieces of the pie in place to launch a successful music service.

(I may apply myself, perhaps...)

November 04, 2005

Motorola SLVR L7

A little birdie dropped a Motorola SLVR L7 with iTunes in Engadget's lap. It's an interesting next step that may attempt to leverage Motorola's success with the RAZR to strengthen its iTunes-enabled cell phone line. The date of release has not yet publicly known.

Establishing leadership in the music mobile area will be critical for successfully launching Motorola iRadio in January...

(via MobileMusicBlog, via Engadget)

November 01, 2005

Sprint Launches Power Vision and Music Store

Big news in the mobile music space. Sprint launched its EV-DO service, Power Vision, yesterday.

One big piece of Power Vision is the Sprint Music Store, the first over-the-air music download service in the United States. Though Verizon and Cingular already offer music phones, neither carrier lets users download music over the wireless network. Currently, the Sanyo MM-9000 and Samsung MM-A940 offer the service.

Pretty huge. It will be interesting to see how Motorola iRadio leverages its features in a market that's sure to include a number of mobile music options by year's end...

Related Links:
Power Vision press release
Engadget's thoughts
MocoNews' thoughts

iRadio Waves tracks news, buzz, and gear related to Motorola iRadio and the world of mobile radio. (iRW is not affiliated with Motorola)

Have info, comments, or questions? Email me

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