ARCHIVE: January 2006

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January 30, 2006

Samsumg Blade vs. Motorola RAZR

David Pogue of the NY Times wrote a nice (and somewhat humorous) article comparing the RAZR and the Blade.  In summary, though the Blade is a physical knockoff of the more elegant RAZR, the RAZR's software is cloogy in comparison.

Excellent UI is key to making music devices sticky.  (see any iPod)  Motorola’s challenge with iRadio is that it has to work on any portable device with any configuration of buttons.  The iRadio team will need to invest serious resources into software design and GUI (graphic user interface) if they want to hit a homerun.

Windows Mobile 5 Version of iRadio Exists

As I mentioned, the Motorola iRadio team has developed a Windows Mobile 5 version of iRadio.  That’s huge.  The core iRadio software could therefore go on any windows compatible device, such as the Motorola Q or Palm Treo 700W.

This would make great sense for office dudes, commuters, etc, that use handheld devices regularly.  The “flight mode” option (where you can turn off ‘phone’ functionality and continue using other device features) is especially nice for frequent flyers.

More and more, I’m beginning to see that Motorola is quite serious about iRadio…it no longer seems to be just an added service used to sell more phones.

January 27, 2006

Motorola and JBL to Launch Mobile Music Accessories

Motorola and JBL, a 'leading provider of audio products for the computer industry,' will jointly develop and market accessories for Motorola's mobile music devices.  They'll work to combine MOTO's sleek phone design with JBL's high-fidelity sound technology.

Let's see some cool iRadio schwag, people.  More at Mobiledia.

Motorola to Increase iRadio Channels from 438 to 638

Motorola iRadio blew satellite radio out of the water when it announced iRadio would launch with 438 channels of programming, compared to XM’s and Sirius’s 100 or so channels a piece.

I learned from a source close to the iRadio team that there are already plans to add another 200 channels by the end of 2006.  And that’s not including the channels that will be created by independent labels, artists, and DJs within the iRadio Get Heard Network.  Talk about a long tail…

I picked up a few other interesting little scoops…like the fact that a Windows Mobile version of iRadio now exists (that’s huge)…more next week.  Enjoy the weekend!

Update:  Did I say 438?  I meant "435" and "635."  Oops.  What's an extra 3 stations anyway?

January 26, 2006

Apple to Launch Mobile Me: a mePod?

iRadio, and every phone and/or portable music device maker will need to keep an eye on this little ditty.  Apple recently filed a trademark around "Mobile Me" using language that suspiciously hints at a possible mobile music device.

"...Providing digital music from local or global communications networks, including the internet, intranets, extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular and satellite networks; operating chat rooms..."

"...Telecommunication services; electronic transmission and retrieval of data, images, audio, video and documents, including text, cards, letters, messages, mail, animations, and electronic mail, over local or global communications networks, including the internet, intranets, extranets, television, mobile communication, cellular and satellite networks..."

3 words:  Beware of the mePOD!

You can't blame Apple for wanting to enter the mobile market.  As Russell at MobHappy points out, Apple has sold a total of 42 million iPods, meanwhile, 2 billion mobiles currently penetrate the global market.  Hey, that's why Motorola's getting in the game with iRadio.

If Apple does pursue mobile music, it will be interesting to see how they approach the challenges of working with carriers, telecomm networks, and hardware manufacturers, all of which Motorola is already very familiar.  More interesting is the question -- what would a mePod look like?

January 25, 2006

Interview With Rio Caraeff, Universal Music Mobile VP

Rafat conducted a short interview with Rio Caraeff, VP of Universal Music Mobile, regarding the past, present and future of the medium at Universal.  Check it out here.

iRadio Takes Aim at Apple iPods

Oh schnap.  In a Washington Post story about the future of digital radio etc, Motorola iRadio spokesman Paul Alfieri made a case for a converged music/telecommunications device:

"This is the device formerly known as the cell phone. ... Why carry a second device? The cell phone's already on you. This is digital music that someone else programs for you, so you have the element of surprise plus the power of an iPod."

Heads up, Mr. Jobs.

The post went on to explain iRadio's benefits, etc, etc, though it got a few facts wrong.  (iRadio channels have music from multiple labels, not just one; there was probably some confusion with the exclusive artist channels that were announced earlier in the year.)  It also talks about Sirius, XM's, and Boston Acoustic's forays into digital radio.  Nice article overall.

XM, Sirius, Apple, Creative...the list of targets grows...

January 24, 2006

Clear Channel Hints at iRadio Hook-Up

John Hogan, President and CEO of Clear Channel, said, 'Radio has undergone many changes in recent weeks, including the syncing of cell phones with Motorola's iRadio service that serves up content from Clear Channel.'

Funny.  This isn't the first time a content partnership between Clear Channel and Motorola iRadio was mentioned, though an official announcement has yet to be released.  Clear Channel's board must be swetting bullets over alternative radio options such as satellite radio and Motorola iRadio, thinking, "..if ya can't beat 'em, join 'em."

What kind of content will CC provide, and will commercials be included?  Commercials generate revenue, but will also divert iRadio listeners to other, commercial-free channels...

January 23, 2006

iRadio Debuts in Europe at MIDEM

If you happened to be strolling about the streets of Paris, France, this weekend, hopefully you were able to check out MidemNet at the Palais de Festivals.  The theme was New Revenue from Mobile & Technology.

Besides being an incredible opportunity to see what's happening in the world of mobile music, it was also Motorola iRadio's European debut.  Apparently, the iRadio bug will be spreading from North America to Europe later this year.

Dave Ulmer, (Sr. Dir Marketing) spoke at the "Mobile Music - Convergence or Divergence?" panel.  I hear he started a brawl with the speaker from Sony Ericsson.  Just kidding...it's Monday morning, just checking if you're awake.  Lots of other cool panels.

...It's amusing to note that 1/2 of the panel is US-based, despite the fact that the US has traditionally lagged behind Europe in mobile technology adoption.  But who's counting...

UPDATE:  On a related note, research shows that European mobile music will reach 7.85 billion euros by 2011.

Back...

Apparently, uploading the new iRadio Waves banner took a lot out of me...  But I'm back, and ready to ask critical questions like, "Now that iRadio has "launched", when the heck will we see iRadio phones??"  :)

Onward we march, to seek out the answers...

January 16, 2006

New iRadio Waves Banner

I was finally able to upload a new iRadio Waves banner, hooray, and will be updating further over the next month. I may add a 3rd column for resource links to Motorola, iRadio, and the Get Heard Network, as well as an About page and a mobile music service comparison page...

What would you like to see?  Needs?  Suggestions?  Let me know what you think!

January 10, 2006

Motorola Launches Motorola Share With Avvenu

Motorola continues to add “sticky” features that will make their phones more attractive to users.  At CES last week, Motorola announced the launch of Motorola Share in partnership with Avvenu, a photo storage and sharing service available on a number of web-enabled mobile phones, including the RAZR, ROKR, and V557.

Motorola Share features:
* Users can view images stored on their computer
* Users can send email via mobile to friends with a link to any image
* Users can view low/high res images; images are automatically scaled to fit screen
* Load time and storage space is conserved, since images sit on computer

It’s a nice feature.  Combined with Motorola iRadio, Motorola phones are on their way to becoming media control centers.  It’s a smart move to provide value-added services that iPods cannot currently offer.  It’s that whole “seamless mobility” thing.  Network, network, network.

An aside, RussellBeattie compared the three remote-access services of Avvenu, Orb, and SoonR, and concluded that Avvvenu was by far the best.  Sounds like a good partnership choice by MOTO.

Related News:

Silicon Beat:  "Avvenu snags funding for new file-sharing idea"

B Cell Phones:  "Motorola and Avvenu announce new mogile service for Image Sharing on the go"

 

January 09, 2006

Photos of ROKR E2

Several bloggers were able to snap up pics of the ROKR E2:

MobileBurn:  Live Photos of Motorola's ROKR E2

Engadget:  Hands-On with the Motorola ROKR E2

Palm Addict:  Motorola ROKR E2 Hands On at CES 2006

Motorola Press Release:  Motorola ROKR E2

Do you have any pics to share from CES 2006?  Let me know...

January 06, 2006

iRadio CNBC Feature Moved to Today

Apparently, the iRadio feature on CNBC was moved to today at 12:00 ET.  Motorola's CEO, Ed Zander, will be showing off iRadio on a ROKR E2.  (However, I still don't see Motorola on the Power Lunch guest list for today...perhaps just a mishap?)

Motorola Partners With Google

It looks like Google icons will start appearing on Motorola phone screens.  It's the first time Google has signed such a deal with a handset maker (though it made a similar deal with T-Mobile).  The official announcement will be made later this week.

Now iRadio subscribers will need to choose: look for music info in Google Music Search, or in an iRadio search query?  (see an example of a Google Music Search search result here)

A New Look For iRadio Waves...

With Motorola having launched iRadio, it seemed appropriate to execute a little launch of my own.  So, I spent the last few hours upgrading iRadio Waves to the new MT template...unbelievably, it worked!  I still need to update the color scheme and create a new banner, but that will have to wait...  For the time being, just call the site "iRadio Waves Beta".  (beta is oh-so-trendy these days :) )

January 05, 2006

NBC Nightly News To Feature iRadio Solstice

iRadio-Solstice-pic2More iRadio buzz!

NBC Nightly News will be featuring the iRadio Solstice, an iRadio-branded (you guessed it) Solstice, tonight.

The Pontiac Solstice is one SWEET little accessory item.  I wonder if there are any plans in the works to make iRadio an option with the purchase of one.  Anyway, this is a nice example of brand association marketing, folks.  iRadio + cool car = cool iRadio.  I'm interested to see what NBC talks more about; the car, or the radio.  :)

iRadio-Solstice-pics

Ya gotta wonder how many of these iRadio-branded rides Motorola has cruising around the US. Dave Ulmer drove another iRadio roadster to the Music Live Conference not too long ago...

How many of these does he have in his driveway?

iRadio To Be Featured on CNBC Power Lunch

I just learned that Motorola iRadio will be featured on CNBC Power Lunch with Walter Mossberg at 1:40 EST today.  Be sure to check it out.

Today's Power Lunch guest list features a number of HEAVY hitters in consumer electronics -- it should be a great show:

Ivan Seidenberg
Verizon Communications
Chairman & CEO

Eli Harari
SanDisk
CEO

William Watkins
Seagate Technology
President & CEO

Michael Ahn
LG Electronics
U.S. Global CEO

Peter Weedfald
SAMSUNG Electronics America
Senior Vice President

Gary Shapiro
Consumer Electronics Association
President & CEO

Brian Alger
Pacific Growth Equities
Tech. Sector Specialist

Rob Glaser
RealNetworks
Chairman & CEO

CEO's as far as the eye can see...  Check it out if you can!

UPDATE:  The iRadio feature was bumped to Jan 6, 12:00 ET.

Warner Music Group Officially Signs With Motorola iRadio

After yesterdays' tip, it's now official.  Warner has joined Universal in signing up with iRadio.  As stated in the press release:

Through the iRadio service, including exclusive WMG artist and genre channels, iRadio listeners will enjoy and discover music from the company's expansive catalog of emerging acts, popular favorites and established legends.

Song BMG and EMI are sure to follow soon.  I'm curious to learn which Warner Music Group artists will be selected to produce exclusive artist channels...

January 04, 2006

MOTO ROKR E2 - More Details

The Motorola ROKR E2, the first iRadio phone, was recently unveiled.  The specs seem to change slightly every time I see them (note the specs I published from Apple Insider yesterday), however, this new list is now the latest.  Check out the features:

ROKR E2 SPECS:

  • Removable SD card
  • FM radio with 30 presets
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • 262k color TFT QVGA (240x320) resolution
  • 1.3 megapixel camera with flash and video capture
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • Linux-based operating system (No iTunes!)
  • Store up to 500 songs, manage playlists
  • Dedicated music keys (play/pause, skip, hold)
  • Bluetooth audio connection
  • “Airplane Mode” (safely listen on planes)
  • SCREEN3 technology

The ROKR E2 will be available in the first half of 2006...leaving plenty of time for Motorola to change the specs yet again.  :)

Warner Music Group Signs With Motorola iRadio

I mentioned yesterday a new content partner would be announced this week.

According to Business Week today, that partner is Warner Music Group Corp.  Expect to see some of Warner's artists (which include a wide variety such as Fleetwood Mac, David Grey, Alanis Morrissette, The Darkness, Rob Thomas, Jason Mraz, and many others) set up exclusive iRadio channels).

Sony BMG and EMI will follow soon, no doubt. 

January 03, 2006

Motorola Officially Launches iRadio

In case you missed my post yesterday, Motorola iRadio officially launched today.

WOO-HOO!  News, announcements, and pics from the CES show will be available soon.

In the meantime, here's the official MOTO iRadio Launch press release.

New Content Partner to Be Announced: Sony BMG, Warner, or EMI?

I just heard a little rumor from a source inside the iRadio team that a new content partner will be announced this week.  Since Universal already signed with Motorola iRadio, that would leave Sony BMG, Warner, and EMI.

Mind you, a similar rumor came my way once before, and Motorola decided to hold off.  However, this time it's more likely to happen, since CES 2006 is taking place this week...it's a prefect venue to make big announcements.

This would, of course, open the way for more exclusive artist channels, which would give Motorola even more ammunition with which to compete against Sirius and XM.

ROKR E2: The First iRadio Phone

It's official.  The first iRadio-compatible phone will be the ROKR E2.

According to Apple Insider, the ROKR E2 will feature:

  • bluetooth stereo headset
  • rapid USB2-enabled downloads
  • UMTS support (a 3G news supplier)
  • 1 megapixel digital camera
  • 3.5mm earphone jack
  • 1000-song capacity
  • WILL NOT INCLUDE iTUNES!
  • Interesting.  Of course, the failure of the ROKR E1 doesn't bode well for the ROKR brand.  Fortunately, the phone is only one of six iRadio-compatible phones to be demoed at CES.  Many more will include iRadio going forward.

    Engadget got hold of an allegid ROKR E2 pic here.

    UPDATE:  The specs above turned out to be somewhat stale.  Here are updated ROKR E2 specs.

    January 02, 2006

    Motorola iRadio Launch

    With CES 2006 only a few days away, iRadio is on the verge to launch.  I've learned that a big press release tomorrow will give details ragarding the new service, as well as a few other interesting announcements.  For example:

    Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Billy Bob Thornton, will be contributing to a CSN and an independent artist channel channel, respectively.

    The ROKR E2 will be iRadio-compatable, as well as 5 other phones to be demoed at CES.

    Motorola iRadio will launch with 435 commercial-free radio channels.  Lookout Sirius and XM.

    Pioneer, Alpine, Sony, and Kenwood are all manufacturing Bluetooh accessories for iRadio.

    More soon, once CES begins...  Who says Christmas is over?  :)

    UPDATE:  More info here at Yahoo and Engadget.  And here's the official press release.

    Best Phones of 2005

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    In case you're interested, ABC takes a shot at listing the best phones of 2005.  It's more of a review of each cell phone makers best and brightest.  Onwards to 2006!

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

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