ARCHIVE: February 2006

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February 28, 2006

The Motorola V195 Lasts a Looong Time

Motorola V195Introducing the Motorola V195, a mid-range clamshell phone whose claim to fame is an incredibly long-lasting, 1020mAh battery, later this year.  Offering up to ten hours talk time and 21 days standby, the V195 is perfect fit for the Energizer bunny.  It should be good for business users whose phones keep dying at inconvenient times.  However, the lack of a camera and memory expansion will not make it a great consumer (or iRadio) phone.

Features:

  • Quad-band GSM
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 1.7" color LCD display
  • Monochrome sub-display
  • 10MB on board memory
  • Speakerphone
  • Polyphoni/MP3 ringtone capability
  • Size: 3.58" x 1.85" x 0.94"
  • Battery Life: 10.4 hours
  • Video MPEG4 video playback
  • Messaging MMS/SMS/EMS
  • Available Colors:  Dark Pearl Grey, Cosmic Blue
  • Expected Launch:  Q2 2006

February 23, 2006

Interview With Ted Casey: Verizon V Cast Music Store

Jim Welte of Mp3.com interviewed Ted Casey, the head of mobile music at Verizon, about the V Cast Music Store.  The interview reads a bit like a V Cast marketing brochure, despite Jim’s efforts to probe for comparisons with iRadio, Amp’d, XM, and Sirius.  Still, it’s an interesting read, which can be found here.  Ted’s main value pitch revolved around the convenience of a converged device, the immediacy of direct music downloads, and a “360-degree music experience” (previews, artist alerts, true tones, ring tones, etc). 

I still find myself more interested in what iRadio plans to offer.  With Q2 approaching, will we be seeing the first iRadio phone soon?

February 22, 2006

Auto Industry Takes Notice

Autoblog just mentioned the iRadio Motorola press release, expressing interest, but stating that the "solution" description was a bit vague.

There's always that balance to maintain between creating buzz before a launch, and launching with a big bang.  I'm sure we'll hear more soon.

February 21, 2006

The First iRadio Phones - A Mystery Extravaganza

With iRadio scheduled to launch by the end of Q1, and the ROKR E2 only launching in mid 2006, what will be the first iRadio phones?  I don’t have a definite answer, but have been able to collect a series of cryptic hints pieced together from insider tips.  (Hey, it’s better than nothing...)  Put on your Sherlock Holmes caps, and deduct away…

Mystery Phone #1:  It’s a bluetooth, clamshell phone, that’s razor-thin, and runs iTunes… (hm…perhaps the PEBL? ...just kidding... :)

Mystery Phone #2:  This phone was at CES 2006, in the iRadio booth on the opposite side of the wall that the RAZR and ROKR E2 phones were displayed on.  (I wasn’t there, but if you were and know the phone, drop me a line!)

Mystery Phone #3:  This phone closely resembles the phone nicknamed “ROKR E3,” seen herehere, and possibly here (?).  Apparently, this phone was present at CES, and will be iRadio enabled.

There you have it.  There may be more.  Any speculations?

February 17, 2006

Motorola W220 - An FM Radio RAZR Look-Alike

Motorola W220Motorola announced the release of the Motorola W220, which is basically an FM Radio-enabled RAZR with most of the RAZR's features ripped out.  The lower price point will make the RAZR's thin design accessible to those with shallower pockets, but may also begin to reduce the value of the RAZR.

Motorola W220 Features:

  • Clamshell handset
  • Stereo FM Radio
  • Browser (WAP 2.0 compliant)
  • Messaging:  MMS, SMS, NSM
  • Downloadable media capability
  • 600 contacts
  • Dimensions: 46 x 95 x 16.6 mm
  • Weight:  93 grams
  • Screen:  128 x 128 px
  • Battery:  497 minutes of talk time, 293 hrs stand-by

The Motorola W220 will be available in Q3 2006.

...So let's see...now Moto fans will need to choose between iRadio phones, FM Radio phones, Windows Media phones, and iTunes phones...  It's gettting a little complex, no?

(via MobileBurn)

February 16, 2006

ROKR Song Limit Upgrade via iTunes?

While exploring the iTunes 6.0.3 binary file, Evan DiBiase found mysterious references to "upgradePhone" which eventually led to an iTunes screen offering an upgrade to the ROKR, for a price.

It's since been confirmed that the upgrade only applies to ROKR owners in Asia, whose phones only hold 50 songs.  The upgrade only boost the song count to...yup, 100 songs.  Ah well.

February 15, 2006

RAZR V3x Wins “Best 3GSM Handset 2006” Award

Motorola won the "Best 3GSM Handset 2006" award at the 3GSM World Congress 2006.  Good job, Moto!

MSFT-MOTO Hookup Anticlimactic?

Seth at the Motley Fool seems unimpressed with Motorola's and Microsoft's recent mobile Windows Media Player announcement:

The promise of corporate conflict might make for good headlines, but more often than not the showdowns promised are about as dramatic as the 3rd grade spring pageant.

He points to the following in support of an anti-climax:

  • High prices for mobiles song downloads (usually starting at $1.99)
  • Nokia made the same announcement last year regarding WMP on their phones
  • Motorola has already been making phones with Windows Mobile OS for some time
  • MSFT is just trying, as always, to make its OS as ubiquitous as possible

There's always a nay-sayer in the crowd...who makes very interesting points.  Still, one must consider the fact that 42 million iPods have been sold, versus 2 billion mobile phones worldwide.  There are a lot of consumers that might be happy to buy a music phone, rather than two separate devices.

As Seth mentioned, it'll all come down to consumer preference.

ROKR.com For Sale

Hey look, ROKR.com is for sale.

SLVR.com, PEBL.com, and RAZR.com are all being used.  Watch for a bidding war between Motorola and Apple.  :)

February 14, 2006

Motorola and Yahoo Demo Mobile Podcasting Solution

Motorola demo'd its new mobile podcasting solution with Yahoo at 3GSM.  It sounds pretty slick.  The application includes a drag-and-drop interface to transfer podcasts from a PC to a phone, and also enables over-the-air download to a Motorola phone.  A RAZR V3x was used for the demo.

Yet another reason why I may not need my iPod in the near future...  More details in the Motorola press release.

Speaking of Yahoo and slick interfaces, Yahoo's User Interface blog launched yesterday.  Gotta love Web 2.0.

Motorola Embraces MSFT, Still Sticks With iTunes

I love it.  First Motorola announces that the ROKR E2 will run iRadio instead of iTunes.  Then Motorola announces at 3GSM that it will be developing a line of music phones using Windows Media technology instead of iTunes.  Too funny.

Unlike the ROKR E1, the new phones will be able to download music over the as well as through a PC, and will be able to transfer music between devices freely.  The phones may also support the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) standard, but that has yet to be determined.

Motorola will continue to produce iTunes phones alongside their Windows Media alternatives, but the Windows Media phone may be favored by mobile telecom operators looking to create their own music stores.  Operator support is crucial for a phone to succeed, since 80-90% of mobile phones are sold as part of mobile telecom operator subsidies in most markets.

It's probably another reason Apple may be looking to sell mobile services through Mobile Me and the mePod...

(via Reuters, Financial Times, MocoNews)

UPDATE:  You can check out the full press release here.

February 13, 2006

Mobile Music Panel at NYC Media Summit

MocoNews covered the “Mobile Music: The Issues for 2006” panel at the Media Summit in NYC last week.  You can read a summary of interesting points here, or listen to an audio clip of the discussion here (65 min).  Panelists included:

Thomas Gewecke, SVP, Digital Business Group, Sony BMG
Mike Brochu, CEO, Loudeye
Thomas V. Ryan, Senior VP, Digital & Mobile Strategy and Development, EMI Music
Richard Conlon, VP, Marketing and Business Development, Media Licensing, BMI
Jonathan Kim, SVP Product & Services, WiderThan
Chad Hodge, Group Manager for Media & Entertainment, Microsoft
Moderated by Daniel Harris, CEO, MediaPass Network.

Get Heard Network To Be Self Serve

Independent artists, DJs, and labels continue to await the launch of the Get Heard Network, the network of listener-created audio shows to be offered exclusively through iRadio alongside professional programming.  No official launch date exists yet.

An insider explained that Motorola initially thought the Get Heard Network would provide the bulk of content available on iRadio at launch.  However, major content providers rushed to contribute to iRadio so quickly, that that may no longer be the case.

Hopefully, this will not deter Motorola in any way from properly launching the Get Heard Network.  It’s one of the service’s “coolest” features that differentiates it from Sirius, XM, and other radio services.  It also creates a self-perpetuating word-of-mouth marketing tool that can only help iRadio.  I'm definitely looking forward to its launch.

As to starting an iRadio Waves Get Heard Network channel...well, that might get a little silly. That would be like, um, starting a podcast about podcasting.  Oh wait.  That's what Adam Curry does...

February 10, 2006

Sirius to Hike Subscription Rates?

When you shell out crazy big bucks for 'talent' such as shock jock Howard Stern, it's gonna cost you...and your customers.  Sirius may raise rates to $14, which will help iRadio undercut the service with its $5-7 monthly price tag.  XM and Sirius continue to fight the name game war...

Motorola MS600 RAZR Z, New Slider Phone

Motorola is releasing a slider version of the RAZR, called the MS600 RAZR Z, in Korea.  Check it out at MobileMag and MobileGazette.  Features:

  • 1.3 megapixel digital camera
  • MP3 playback
  • 14.8 millimeters thick
  • 2.2 inch color display
  • 128mb of internal memory
  • Sold through SK Telecom
  • Price: $516-619 USD

February 09, 2006

Motorola Launched M-Wallet, Mobile Pay System

Some non-iRadio MOTO news: Motorola announced M-Wallet yesterday, an application that will allow users to make purchases and manage financial accounts with their mobile phones.  From the overly technical M-Wallet press release:

The solution consists of two components: first, M-Wallet is the application that consumers and merchants download from the Internet; second, the Wallet Service Center allows the operator to manage administration, registration, issuance of credit and debit cards, coupons, archiving, customer profiles and maintenance.

CNET discusses scanning options:

The M-Wallet service initially will allow cell phone users to do banking chores and to pay bills at participating retailers. A new chip that's six to nine months from release will let people use their handset to pay for items anywhere a scanner is used--provided the scanner has been upgraded.

An interesting option, that will probably cost more in 'minutes' or subscription fees...  Still quite cool, though.

MusicGenome To Stream Personalized Music to Mobiles

MusicGenome launched Smart DJ, a service that streams mp3 music to 3G phones based on analysis of listeners' music tastes.  Challenging bandwidth issues, but cool interactive option; interesting stuff.

(via MocoNews)

February 08, 2006

iRadio to Play TV Audio?

For kicks, I Googled the keyword phrase "iRadio job," and found an employment ad for an iRadio web designer/developer.  What I thought was kind of interesting was this little piece about "time-slipped radio/TV audio":

• Time-slipped & buffered audio – record & store radio/TV audio and play it back at a scheduled time or on-demand. The audio might originate from Satellite radio, AM/FM broadcast, Internet or Cable TV. Imagine listening to your favorite radio/TV show when & where you want to . . . not when it happens to be broadcast!

I'm guessing that initially, the Cable TV portion will consist of MusicChoice music channels and the like.  But is Motorola planning to expand the offering to, say, (egad) Desperate Housewives audio?  (actually, that's not cable, is it)  I'm also interested in the mention of Satellite Radio...  Is it possible Motorola will announce a partnership with Sirius or XM down the road?

I also noticed under "desired Secondary Skills":  "• Familiarity with weblogs."  Does Motorola have the entire iRadio team blogging about their exploits?  :)  Or perhaps, they plan to do something similar to what Microsoft does, where engineers are encouraged to blog about updates, bug fixes, software features, etc.  Interesting...

I'll include the entire job ad below, for any web developers out there...  It's actually an interesting read, especially the part that describes iRadio.  See the "three key capabilities" section, i.e. Time-Slipped & Buffered Radio, Pause-Resume, and Push-To-Buy.

[I found this through Google at GetTheJob.com...]

Job Title iRadio Web Designer/Developer  
Location UNITED STATES-TEMPE-AZ-AZ43  
Job Category Software Engineering  
Position Type Full-time experienced  
Relocation Available None  
Required Education Bachelors / Degree  
Required Experience 3 - 5

Department Description:
 iRadio™ . . . Reinventing and Personalizing Audio & Music!!!
Tired of the repetitive, one-size-fits-all, traditional AM/FM broadcast?
Try iRadio . . . Rock’n content with digital audio quality!
When you want it . . . you schedule when you hear it!
Where you want to hear it . . . in the car, at home, on the go!
Like what you hear . . . buy it!

iRadio is the software & subsystems that enable the delivery of broadcast and recorded audio seamlessly across the person, home & car through three key capabilities:

Time-slipped & buffered audio – record & store radio/TV audio and play it back at a scheduled time or on-demand. The audio might originate from Satellite radio, AM/FM broadcast, Internet or Cable TV. Imagine listening to your favorite radio/TV show when & where you want to . . . not when it happens to be broadcast!

Pause-Resume – pause audio playback in one domain (person, home or car) and resume it in another. Picture listening to NPR during your commute home, pausing when you reach your garage and resuming where you left off on your home stereo!

Push-to-Buy – push a button to purchase & download audio to a target destination. Imagine listening to a great new song on a phone or in your car . . . a simple push of a button launches a transaction to purchase a legal, secure digital copy of the song, download it to your home PC and wirelessly stream it to your car and phone when you get home!

Think of it as a Virtual Personal Audio Recorder based on a few building blocks:
• Car – An aftermarket, Bluetooth/802.11 enabled storage capable device or a multi-function head unit
• Home – A multi-media, 802.11 enabled gateway
• Person - A Bluetooth, MP3 & FM capable handset (Cell Phone or iPod)
• Back Office - Client & Server software architecture to enable seamless services
iRadio . . . doing to analog AM/FM broadcast what HBO & PVR did to traditional TV broadcast!
This team will be based in Phoenix Arizona and is a small exciting team – it’s the place to join if you’re a hard working entrepreneurial type of person….  

Scope of Responsibilities/Expectations:

This position offers a unique opportunity to assist in the development of internal and external (consumer) web sites and interfaces for iRadio.

The successful candidate will ideally be able to:
• Design and implement elements into existing web applications and websites while maintaining existing UI branding using
• Work with other members of the iRadio team (engineering, business development, marketing) to develop solutions to a variety of design-related projects
• Work with the iRadio marketing team to help evolve iRadio web interfaces based upon user experience and market demands
• Create custom art work, icons, and flash components to be integrated into existing, as well as new, iRadio web interfaces
• Apply standard web design principles to maintain a clean separation of data from presentation  

Specific Knowledge/Skills:

BS in Information Science, Computer Science, Software Engineering or other relevant field with 3-5 years of applied experience.

Primary skills:
• Strong knowledge of basic design principles: page layout, typography, color theory as it applies to the web
• Expert-level experience in coding HTML and CSS is required
• Mastery and understanding of Web standards is required
• Proven design skills for developing web interfaces with a focus on user experience
• Thorough knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, Macromedia Flash
• Excellent organizational and communication skills, works well with a team
• Independent problem solving skill; flexibility to meet tight deadlines

Secondary skills:
• Experience in JavaScript and DHTML a plus
• Working knowledge of ClearCase
• Familiarity with weblogs

February 06, 2006

Play Motorola RAZR SuperBowl Ad

UPDATE:  I removed the iFilm SuperBowl ad "plugins" because they weren't working properly.  Besides slowing down the site, only audio was coming through, no video.  iFilm has the RAZR ad here, along with all the other SuperBowl ads, in case you're interested.

***********

Might as well throw in the RAZR ad as well, right?

Motorola RAZR Ad

(again, thanks to iFilm)

Play Motorola PEBL SuperBowl Ad

UPDATE:  I removed the iFilm SuperBowl ad "plugins" because they weren't working properly.  Besides slowing down the site, only audio was coming through, no video.  AOL is streaming all of the 2006 SuperBowl Ads here, and iFilm is doing the same here, in case you're interested.

***********

I found a copy of the Motorola PEBL SuperBowl Ad -- enjoy!

Motorola PEBL SuperBowl Ad

(Thanks to iFilm for making all of the SuperBowl Ads available)

Motorola PEBL SuperBowl Ad

Did anyone see the PEBL SuperBowl ad?  Not too shabby.  If you mised it, a meteor crashes into earth, is eroded by elements over time, is lost at sea, then found one day on a beach, having taken the shape of the new Motorola PEBL.  Visually appealing, tells a story, good stuff.

I also enjoyed the commercials for CareerBuilder.com (monkey office), ESPN Mobile (sports stuff surrounding the mobile user), and Fedex (caveman delivery etc).

I was definitely rooting for Pittsburgh, having spent a couple years there for grad school.  Great game!

February 03, 2006

iRadio Launch Bingo

The iRadio launch, like a shimmering oasis, has appeared and faded in the distance:

Appears:  iRadio is launching in January 2006!
Fades:  Er, not for consumers.  For CES 2006 only.
Appears:  The ROKR E2 is the first iRadio phone!
Fades:  The ROKR E2 will only be available in “mid 2006.”
Appears:  According to Radio World’s interview, iRadio will be available by the end of Q1.

If the latest holds true, we’ll see an iRadio launch around March, with a number of iRadio-enabled Motorola phones hitting the shelves (excluding the ROKR E2).

It's time to start practicing the "mobile music swagger."  For the time being, I'll just pretend I'm talking "on the phone" with my iPod...

iRadio Waves Expose'

A couple readers have wondered if iRadio Waves is written by a Motorola employee.  The answer:  nope, no affiliation whatsoever.  I’ve been meaning to put up an 'About' page to explain all, but haven't gotten around to it yet...  Perhaps within the next week.  In any case, I'm just a fan of music and mobility. 

That said, I’m completely open to comments/posts contributed by Motorola employees – if you’re out there, and have something to say, don’t be shy!  :)  Ping me at mike @ iradio waves dot com.

February 02, 2006

Rogers & Melodeo Launch First Mobile Podcast Service

Rogers Wireless and Melodeo launched Rogers Podcast Service, claiming it's North Amercia's first mobile podcast service.

Instead of requiring a sync-up with an internet-connected PC, these phones will download podcasts over-the-air via Mobilcast.  1,500 podcasts are now exclusively available through the service.

I'm interested in understanding what the quality level and length of these programs.  Over-the-air media downloads can be taxing...  Yet another competitor in the mobile music space, how fun!

(via Ringtonia)

UPDATE:  MocoNews found a PDF press release on the service here.

First MVNO Signs With iRadio

How’s this for a shadow of a news bit…  Motorola iRadio recently signed on an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator, for the unfamiliar)…however, I don’t know which one.  :)  They plan to hold off the announcement until after they’ve signed a major carrier, which is currently in the works.

Any bets on which MVNO, or which carrier for that matter, will be first?  I’d guess Cingular, but your guess is as good as mine…

February 01, 2006

Radio World Interviews Dave Ulmer about iRadio

Radio World interviewed Dave Ulmer and produced an article summarizing many of iRadio's talking points here.  Comparisons made with terrestial radio, HD radio, satellite radio, etc.  A nice state-of-the-launch piece.
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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