ARCHIVE: March 2006

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March 31, 2006

Motorola Uses Gorillaz Marketing Tactics

Gorillaz and Motorola Team UpMotorola and the animated band, the Gorillaz, announced yesterday a strategic alliance surrounding the band's Demon Days Live concert series taking place in NYC.

I was a little disappointed to learn that this did not mean Motorola CEO Edward Zander would be busting the rhymes alongside the Gorillaz.  Instead, Moto will be providing exclusive Gorillaz wallpapers, animation, mobile game demo, and other fun stuff.

Clearly, it's a match made in heaven -- according to Jason LaBeach, Sr. Dir. global category marketing:

"Motorola and Gorillaz is a perfect match not just because the band is renowned for their incredible music, but also due to their desire to work with groundbreaking and progressive technology."

Another step closer to the "cool" side for Moto.

Apple's Talking to Handset Makers; Mobile Me Closer

According to DigiTimes, Apple has contacted a number of Taiwan handset makers (including High Tech Computer, Inventec Appliances, Quanta Computer and Foxconn Electronics) for possible handset production.  It looks like Apple's Mobile Me is on its way...

March 30, 2006

iRadio vs. iRadio - A Glossary and Guide

The industry is beginning to "get" Motorola iRadio...a music service where your cell phone delivers music channels via Bluetooth to headsets, home stereos, and car stereos, to create a seamless music listening experience.

However, a few other product offerings may lead to some brand confusion down the line for newbie consumers trying to dive in.  Here's a little glossary to help those in need:

Tunestir iRadio:  An iPod accessory offering FM Radio functionality, FM transmission capability (to transmit iPod music to any FM radio, etc), and in-line remote control for your iPod.

Companion iRadio:  A customizable, streaming Internet radio application included in the Companion suite of lifestyle products offered by Convergent living.

Noxon iRadio:  An internet and FM radio with wireless capability offered by Terratec.  (No plans to be offered in the US, however.)

3aLab iRadio:  Software that allows users to listen to, record, rip, and create individual track files from internet radio stations.  The RIAA must be really excited about this one.

There you have it...I hope that alleviates (exacerbates?) any brand confusion in the marketplace...

March 29, 2006

iRadio Announcements, Including New Talk Radio Channels

DigitalMusicNews got a little scoop from Dave Ulmer on Tuesday at the Digital Hollywood conference in Santa Monica, CA.  (Motorola hosted the Digital Music Consortium, btw)  Apparently, Dave previewed iRadio while there, and made reference to a number of announcements to be made at CTIA: Wireless 2006 in Las Vegas next week, including several new talk radio programming channels.

Oprah, Stern, and Opie & Anthony are all spoken for...who will iRadio announce?  Potentially somebody big, since Motorola is looking to create as much buzz as possible before launching iRadio...

Motorola Ads Get Downright Sexy

Sure, eye-catching phone designs always help to boost sales.  But a little sex never hurts to bring future quarters' sales to a climax.  For example...

Check out this 'suggestive' Motorola Slider ad making the rounds in South Korea:

A sexy Motorola Slider ad from South Korea

Or, check out this Motorola SLVR ad that was included in an email from HelloMoto:

A Motorola SLVR ad

Lately, I've been feeling like I need WAY more cell phones in my life...  That said, Motorola should be wary of alienating a female audience (the email may have been customized for males, of course).

March 28, 2006

CoolPrepaid and Motorola Part Ways

According to PC Magazine, Motorola recently terminated its relationship with CoolPrepaid (formerly cool.Prepaid).  It's quite a swift turn of events; CoolPrepaid had just recently announced their intention to release Motorola iRadio-enabled phones, such as the SLVR and RAZR, last week.  However, both CoolPrepaid and Motorola delivered conflicting messages regarding the launch; this latest update may partially explain why.

CoolPrepaid will be focusing their business on offering prepaid cards for unlocked GSM phones, which will be a bit of a challenge; more details here.

March 27, 2006

MVNO Cool Mobile To Offer iRadio Via Prepaid Handsets

Motorola iRadio will officially get some distribution with its first MVNO, Cool Mobile (I'm not sure if this is the same MVNO that signed with iRadio earlier).  Sort-of-officially, anyway.  It's always a little difficult to tell when quotes like these appear in the same article:

"[Cool Mobile is] collaborating with Motorola to offer the handset developer's iRadio service—something that would be exclusive to Cool in the prepaid market..."

"A Motorola official said the company does not have an official iRadio contract with Cool."


In any case...Cool Mobile plans to expand its Cool.Prepaid handset lineup to include six Motorola devices, and will incorporate iRadio...though no timeframe is offered (of course).  iRadio users will stream up to six channels of music to their wireless handsets, and Cool users will be able to purchase full-length tracks for $1.  Cool Mobile operates on Cingular's GSM network.

It's good to see that iRadio is finally beginning to spread its wings a bit...

UPDATE: Motorola just terminated its relationship with CoolPrepaid (formerly cool.Prepaid), perhaps explaining the conflicting quotes above.  So there you have it.

March 23, 2006

iRadio Sr. Product Manager, LaSean Smith, Breaks It Down

iRadio Product Manager, LaSean SmithLaSean Smith, Sr. Product Manager, Motorola Digital Media (and x-recording engineer), has been spreading the iRadio gospel wherever mobile radio enthusiasts will listen.  Most recently, he appeared at the Digital Music Forum earlier this month on a panel titled "Redefining Radio: New Technologies Changing Radio As We Know It," which had reps from XM, Sirius, AOL, CBS, and comScore.  A pretty nice mix, further positioning iRadio as a mobile radio competitor.  (If anyone knows of audio from the conference posted online, please let me know.  The photo was borrowed from the Digital Music Forum's bio page.)

LaSean has also popped up in a number of other conferences/events, including:

In any case, I always enjoy hearing other Product Managers speak about their products -- it must be an insane period of time for the entire iRadio team.  We all look forward to hearing more from him soon.

March 22, 2006

Motorola Serves Up Fruity PEBLs For Breakfast

Fruity PEBLsRecognizing that teeny-boppers and teeny-bopper wanna-bes enjoy personalizing their phones, Motorola recently decided to look beyond 'Darth Vader black' for its PEBL phone, and is now offering an assortment of "Fruity PEBLs" to choose from.  (Uh-oh, watch out for Barney as he tries to trick Fred...nevermind, a cereal reference)  They even wrote a press release about the phones, which should be available by Q2 2006.

Now they'll have to re-do the PEBL commet commercial with different colored commets... 

March 17, 2006

The Motorola MING Dynasty Rises

Motorola MING (formerly A1200)Motorola's (excuse me, MOTO's) 4-letter naming scheme is catching on globally.  The Motorola A1200, a smart phone being released in China, was recently renamed the Motorola MING. Here's the reasoning from Terrance Ma in the MING press release:

"The name MING was chosen to resonate more deeply with people in Hong kong than a traditional model name or number can," said Terence Ma, director of sales, Mobile Devices Business, Motorola Hong Kong. "Like the design and usability of the phone itself, MING will help bring our smart phones into entirely new market segments."

Personally, it's a far more interesting approach.  Unless you're closely involved in the industry in some way, alphanumeric digits don't mean squat to most people, especially consumers.

The Motorola MING targets business folk with several cool features, including:

  • Clamshell phone with transparent cover
  • Uses Linux software
  • Antenna-free
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Business card scanner with optical-character recognition software
  • Speakerphone
  • Document viewer
  • POP3 e-mail
  • Calendar, task list, and contact manager
  • Music player
  • FM-Stereo radio receiver
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology

It'll hit Hong Kong quite soon, apparently.  LinuxDevices presents a few interesting pics of the phone taken apart here, in case you're curious.  I'm not sure if the phone will be iRadio compatible...I'm assuming not, at least initially.

March 16, 2006

Motorola and Boost Mobile Launch Music Biz 101 Contest

Music Biz 101 ContestInteresting.  25 lucky 18-26 year old college student music industry wannabees will win all expense paid trips to New York City to attend the Music Biz 101 Symposium on April 19th.  As well as a Motorola Boost Mobile i875 handset.  Not too shabby.

An incredible roster of technology leaders, label managers, and artists line the speaker roster...I kind of wish I could attend myself.  (Come on, Moto, I'm right here in NYC, there would be no need for hotel or transportation arrangements..!)  Check out this sampling from the roster:

  • Jason Hirschhorn (CDO, MTV Networks)
  • Timbaland (big-time hit producer)
  • Mimi Valdes (Editor-In-Chief, Vibe Magazine)
  • Mona Scott (President, Violater Management)
  • Zeeshan Zaidi (VP, Digital Business Operations Group, BMG US)
  • Scott Richman (VP & GM, AOL City Guide, AOL Music)
  • Lee Abrams (CPO & SVP, XM Radio)
  • Moni Wolf (CDO, Motorola iDen products)

I'm not sure what's driving the event, but it probably has to do with establishing a little more buzz and recognition for Motorola's and Boost's respective products and services.  Peter Aloumanis, general manager, U.S. Markets Division, Motorola’s iDEN® Mobile Devices, gave the philonthropic explanation, "Motorola not only has a long standing commitment to education and technology, but provides key experiences that tear down the barriers between music producers and music consumers."

Whatever the case, the event looks quite cool.  And you get a free phone.

If you fit the bill, hey, apply.  Warning:  you'll have to write a 500-word essay.  Ha!

March 15, 2006

An iPod Mini? No, The DNET DM751 Phone

DNET DM751 iPod phoneToo funny.  I suppose it's one approach to competing with Apple's iPod line...

Motorola can learn a few lessons in brilliant design strategy from DNET's latest knock off mobile phone model, the DM751.  The circular keypad is spiral-shaped, with extra music playing buttons residing on the sides of the phone.  A non-working prototype of the DNET DM751 was displayed in CeBIT.

So, is this considered thinking outside or inside the box?

(via Slashphone)

XM Is No Longer 100% Commercial Free

XM Satellite Radio and Clear Channel had been locked in arbitration for some time on the issue: XM wanted to stay commercial-free, while Clear Channel, one of XM's investors, demanded that commercials be inserted into its four shows on XM:  Sunny, KISS, MIX, and Nashville.  The arbitration panel recently sided with Clear Channnel.

The community backlash has been huge.  In response, XM smartly decided to add four new, commercial-free channels, to offset (and compete with?) the sponsored ones.

I hope (and believe it is the case) that any Clear Channel content on iRadio will be commercial-free.  Keeping iRadio ad-free will be important for "commercial free" bragging rights and for positioning against terrestrial radio.  Either way, iRadio's huge number of stations (over 600) will certainly be a nice selling point.

March 14, 2006

Motorola RAZR Flaw Attracts Flak, Then Back on Track

Last week, a manufacturing flaw found in a small group RAZR phones led to a halt in sales and a flurry of press.  (A flaw in any other handset probably wouldn't have attracted as much attention, but this was, after all, the mighty mighty RAZR.)  Apparently, some phones sold after Feb 1 were dropping calls and rebooting upon opening.  Oops.

Fortunately, according to Motorola, only a small batch of phones were affected, and sales would be able to resume by the end of this week.  And in fact, RAZRs are already returning to store shelves.  You can't keep a good phone down.

March 04, 2006

iRadio Motorola News Catch Up

Whew!  That's it for Motorola iRadio News-Catch-Up.  I'll be on a beach for a week...maybe when I'm back, iRadio will have launched?  See you then!

ROKR E3 Prototype Photos -- What About ROKR E2?

You know hype is getting a little out of control when all the recent rave revolves around a product prototype whose predecessor has yet to be released.  In any case, Engadget scored a few first hand pics of the ROKR E3 yesterday, which includes a faux iPod-like music wheel, and a few other features:

Tentative ROKR E3 Features (Official Specs not available):

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • 512MB of internal memory
  • Bluetooth
  • 1.3 megapixel camera
  • TransFlash memory card slot
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Multimedia software (not iTunes -- perhaps iRadio?)

Veeery interesting.  But let's not forget about the ROKR E2, which should be out in mid 2006...

iRadio Partners with BlueBeat, Media Rights Technologies

I'm a little late on this announcement:  Motorola recently signed on BlueBeat, a subsidiary of Media Rights Technologies, to provide programming for iRadio.  You can read the press release here, and an article about the relationship here.  The name was new to me, so I looked up some info...

Some background on internet radio site BlueBeat, according to the site:

We have created and now operate the world's best-sounding and most secure digital radio service at www.bluebeat.com. BlueBeat delivers over 500,000 tracks and more than 400 music channels in secure MP3 music streams reaching 320kbps, anywhere, anytime.

Some background on Media Rights Technologies:

Media Rights Technologies creates and licenses content management and enablement solutions, empowering the effective distribution of any digital content: entertainment, personal, commercial, or educational.

BlueBeat's home page mentions the iRadio relationship, stating, "...BlueBeat is the first music provider for Motorola's iRadio service!"  This is surprising, since the relationships with Clear Channel, Universal, and Warner were announced much earlier.  Either way, more content is always welcome.  I like BlueBeat's Time Machine page, containing a ton of free streamable playlists...though I have yet to try it.

Kelli Richards, President and CEO of All Access Group, seems to be the glue in this relationship.  She is both Senior Advisor to Media Rights Technologies, and Entertainment Alliances Manager for Motorola in the Connected Home Division.

Perhaps BlueBeat will be providing the additional 200 channels that were mentioned earlier?

March 03, 2006

Motorola Patenting A Guitar Cell Phone

My friends, THIS is the iPod killer we've all been looking for.

Motorola is patenting a phone that will be able to act as a musical instrument.  The mobile screen will display a guitar neck, while the keys will trigger "strums" on the guitar.  The guitar chord can be shifted by turning a knob, and can also be switched from major to minor, etc.  The phone can be converted into a violin or banjo...  Barry Fox at NewScientist found the full patent here.

Sounds like fun...but it presents a whole new level of pain in terms of annoying cell phone users... :)

iRadio To Work on the ROKR E1?

Don't ask me how, but I ran across this Cingular forum post about iRadio on ROKR E1:

When I browsed to the security settings, and showed the list of lockable applications, one of the options was iRadio. Now I know what this is, as I had it on my old phone. My question is that since they don't make a supportable adaptor for the ROKR E1, at least that I have heard of, if I use an adaptor not specifically designed for it will it work?
But even better, does anybody know where to get a headset specifically for the ROKR to get the iRadio to work?
Interesting.  When iRadio does launch, will ROKR E1 users be able to somehow enable iRadio, and/or disable iTunes?

iRadio a Channel for Clear Channel

It looks like Clear Channel is listing iRadio as a pillar distribution channel partner in its press releases.  I just happened to notice this one, where the "About Clear Channel Radio" section mentions iRadio:

The company's content can be heard on AM/FM stations, on the Internet, via iPods, through Motorola's iRadio cell-phone service, and via mobile-navigation devices from Cobra, Garmin, Kenwood and others.

It's kind of an odd description, isn't it?  Listing networks, stations, and even devices that play Clear Channel programming?  They're trying to demonstrate a multi-channel strategy, supposedly.  Motorola, not quite as desperate, has yet to formally announce the relationship.

Pininfarina To Design Uber Sleek Motorola Phones

Ferrari designer, Pininfarina, will design dozens of phones for Motorola over the next three years.  The amazing success of the RAZR has demonstrated the value of unique, ground breaking design.  Moto's looking to repeat.

We've already seen the iRadio Solstice.  Will we see an iRadio Ferrari out of all this?

Motorola iRadio News Catch-Up

I've been traveling over the last week on business, without much time to write about iRadio or Motorola, which is a shame since there have been several interesting little tidbits floating around.  Since I'm going to be away for another week (somewhere sunny and warm, this time), I'll play a little iRadio Motorola news-catchup...starting now.

 

 

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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