ARCHIVE: April 2006

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April 28, 2006

B-52s Play at the Motorola iRadio Love Shack

The B-52s rocked out at the Motorola iRadio party at the NCTA conference a few weeks ago.  No doubt, they were playing Love Shack (you know, "That's where it's at!") and all that good stuff.  Thanks to an anonymous attendee, we've got a pic!  Check it out:

B-52s play at Motorola iRadio party @ NCTA 

More on Billboard's Praise of iRadio by Motorola

When I wrote about Billboard's praise of Motorola yesterday, I only linked to an excerpt of the article.  Thanks to a reader, here's an image of that article's cover page (click to read):

Billboard article praising iRadio Motorola 

The article is actually specifically giving props to iRadio, which I didn't realize before.  Very cool.

April 27, 2006

Billboard Praises Motorola Over Nokia and Samsung

Antony Bruno at gave huge props to Motorola in the article Handset Companies Dial Up Music, which looks at mobile phone manufacturers' efforts to offer compelling music-centric services.  To quote from the summary:

  • With entertainment content emerging as a priority for the wireless industry, the mobile phone is becoming an important element of the value chain - a consumer electronic device in its own right - rather than just a device to access a network.
  • Wireless phone manufacturers like Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and others are taking an aggressive approach to score exclusive content by partnering with record labels and creating their own music-centric services to elevate their products over those of their competitors.
  • Perhaps the most aggressive handset manufacturer in the mobile music market is Motorola.

The recently launched StudioMOTO and the upcoming iRadio service are nice examples of this.  Nice job, Motorola team. 

(Note: The full article is only available to Billboard subscribers; the excerpt is here.)

UPDATE:  Thanks to a reader, we now have more than an excerpt!  You can now see an image of the iRadio Billboard article.

April 26, 2006

iRadio to Charge $10 Per Month?

The Digital Journal posted a short update blurb on iRadio, stating that iRadio will cost $10/month.  That's a bit higher than the $5-7 price tag suggested by earlier Motorola press releases.  Granted, DJ got a lot of facts wrong about the iRadio service:

  • There will be roughly 620 iRadio channels including 101+ weather channels, 70+ audio book channels, and 20+ classic radio channels. (Not only 435 channels)
  • Sony BMG signed with iRadio last month (Warner and Universal aren't the only labels who've joined).
  • Motorola is not spelled "Mo-torola."  (At least, I don't think so.)
So hey, anything's possible.

Dave Ulmer Invented GeoCaching

I'll be going on a camping trip in a couple months that will revolve around Geocaching. Geocaching is most simply described as a treasure hunt using a GPS device to navigate and locate "treasure," or "geocaches."  Geocaches are hidden by anyone who is interested in doing so, and the location coordinates are posted online for anyone to see and find.

As it will be my first time, I did a little research -- apparently, Wikipedia credits Dave Ulmer for inventing the sport.  Could this be the very same iRadio Dave, Sr. Director of Marketing for the Digital Media Solutions Group at Motorola?  :)  Probably not, but I thought it amusing.

April 25, 2006

Motorola Launches StudioMOTO, Mobile Video Remixer

This is actually pretty cool.  StudioMOTO, which launched yesterday, looks like Motorola's attempt to connect directly with the youth market by offering a cool, free, music-focused, entertainment portal. StudioMOTO includes two remixing applications that enable the creation of videos and animations using pre-selected content:

MOTORemix allows users to remix video clips from bands including Bang Sugar Bang, Dave The Hustler, Paco, and The 88, and save them to a GSM phone or email them to friends.  The interface is all drag-n-drop.  Here's a screenshot:

MOTO Remix for videos

MOTOGraph enables users to remix break beats, text, symbols, and animations into a single video clips.  The clip can then be shared with friends via email or saved to a GSM phone.  Here's a screenshot:

MOTO Graph for animations and ringtones


This is probably part of Motorola's push to generate additional brand awareness and and further differentiate the services it provides.  StudioMOTO includes a "MOTO Products" section to introduce new gear to consumers, and an "Inside Music section, which is basically a news feed taken from Rolling Stone. 

How will iRadio be integrated with or advertised through StudioMOTO when it launches, they're both targeting two very different customer segments, youth customer vs. early adopting gadget fan...

A Motorola Hollywood Review

Motorola Hollywood reviewAmp'd Mobile's entertainment-focused mobile service (an MVNO using Verizon's network) is now up and running.  Three different phones are currently available, the most premium of which is the Motorola Hollywood, an enhanced version of the Motorola E816.  CNET recently published a review of the Hollywood here, giving it decent marks (7.6 of 10).

Motorola Hollywood features:

  • 3G EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized)
  • Amp'd User Interface (BREW)
  • 1.3 megapixel camera
  • Mp3 player 
  • Speakerphone
  • USB
  • Transflash card slot

CNET gave the phone high marks for the phone's user interface, call clarity, and fluid navigation, but commented on the touch-and-go EV-DO reception and occasional tendency freeze up when accessing Amp'd Live (the media browser and player).

Not bad for a first shot.  MVNOs in general seem to be facing a lot of challenges launching their services.  It will be interesting to see how Motorola iRadio will compare against entertainment-focused services such as Amp'd. 


April 24, 2006

Motorola Canary (aka RAZR 2)

The team at Engadget scored a few photos of the upcoming Motorola Canary (RAZR 2) from someone calling himself the Boy Genius For Engadget (a groupie, I assume)-- you can check them out here and here

According to the team, these are the Canary's features:

  • 2.0 megapixel camera
  • Bluetooth
  • MicroSD slot
  • Same software as RAZR V3x (possibly)
  • UMTS device (possibly) 
  • Same thickness as RAZR, but thinner
  • Due Q4 2006 or Q1 2007

Motorola to Replace Ringtones With Electric Shocks

Ok, not exactly.  But someone at Motorola believes vibrating rings are not quite silent enough, and that a less acoustically obtrusive means of alerting cell phone users of rings is necessary.

The solution:  apply mild electrical shocks to users.

Methinks this new "silent" ring may very well create not-so-silent reactions in the users, if the shock is substantial enough.  Personally, it's not an option I would select, no matter how courteous I'm trying to be.  When a scenario demands silence, I just turn my phone off.

Wouldn't a lightweight wristband that generates heat/light/vibration, or something similar, be a more pleasant option?  What would Apple do (WWAD)?

April 21, 2006

Clear Channel Struggling to Clean Up Its Image

Clear ChannelThere's a decent article in Business Week about how Clear Channel is trying to improve its image with niche channels such as Dank, Full Metal Racket, and Mother Trucker (Hip Hop and Rock, Heavy Metal, and Southern Rock).  It's all part of the move to HD radio, which allows individual stations to offer side-channels of focused genres.

It's going to be an uphill climb.  The hatred that spawned is tough to erase.  $200 HD radios are too expensive to warrant trials by non-music-geek listeners. Clear Channel's content was not compelling enough or sufficiently in demand to prevent XM Canada from dropping all four Clear Channel's channels in response to mandated commercial spots.

iRadio will only benefit from the programming battles, as content providers look for new distribution channels for their content.

April 20, 2006

Motorola Q Approved by the FCC

Motorola QHooray!  The Motorola Q was finally approved by the FCC, so we may be seeing it soon after several delays.

The specs for this thing rocks -- it's a CDMA EV-DO handset running Windows Mobile 5 for Smartphone.  A QWERTY keyboard, bluetooth, 1.3 Megapixel camera and SD slot all grace this superphone's feature list.

Another good sign -- a photo of the phone (shown above) was displayed on (but has since been pulled).

New iRadio Waves Features, Links, and APIs

iRadio Waves has finally been updated, with minimal explosions prior to going live.  When you get a chance, poke around and let me know what you think.  New stuff includes:

  • Links. To great blogs, related sites, friend sites, etc.
  • Photos. Pics.  If you have any photos from conferences, demos, of new gear, Motorola or otherwise, that you'd be willing to share, let me know!
  • Google ads. If you see something interesting, feel free to check it out.  As often as you like.  I need to pay for webhosting somehow.  ;)
  • eBay auction alerts. See what Motorola phones are about to be sold...and snag one.
  • Stock quote graph. Shows how MOT's stock is doing each day.  (Not well, yesterday.)
  • iRadio buzz index. Displays the number of times "iRadio" was blogged about over 30 days.  (Unfortunately, Technorati didn't do a great job of creating an plugin that fits well into common blog sidebars.  But hey, it's free, and it's amusing.)
So what do you think?  Any thoughts, suggestions?  Comment here or email me directly with any thoughts you have.  Cheers!

April 19, 2006

More Brand Confusion: Vibes iRadio

When I wrote up the iRadio Brand Glossary to clear up the various products and services using "iRadio" in their name, I missed yet another iRadio brother, Vibes Media iRadio.  This one's a B2B service used by radio stations to facilitate mobile instant messaging between radio DJs and their listeners.  It's not exactly ocket science, but the company does have relationships with a lot of big players including Clear Channel and CBS Radio.

The "iRadio Brand Confusion Factor" (I just made that up!) for Vibes Media iRadio, on a scale of 1 to 10, is 4.  The fact that it deals with mobile phones, and is related to a music listening experience, are the primary sources of confusion.  Otherwise, Motorola's big phat "M" should help keep customers straight.

April 18, 2006

Linux Fans With Motorola Phones

Motorola FansMotorolaFans is a forum community interested in open source applications for Motorola phones.  If something involves Linux and a Moto handset, these guys are all over it.  Registered users get access to a bunch of cool stuff including emulators, skins, wallpapers, multimedia, hacks, etc.  Definitely check it out if you're interested...the site is signing up about 50 new users daily, and growing.

iRadio Waves Update

Well, I'm almost finished updating the layout for iRadio Waves.  The design and color scheme will be the same, but there will be not two, but THREE columns!  (Mind you, as a non-web designer, that's quite a feat.)  Plus, I got a little API-happy and added a couple new Motorola iRadio-related modules to play with, as well as new links to related sites & blogs.  Look for the new look some time this will (NOT) blow your mind!!

April 17, 2006

MOTO ME at the NCTA "National Show"

Motorola's booth at NCTAThe National Show is the bland name assigned to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)'s annual "showcase and gathering place that unites the cable telecommunications industry for three concentrated days of networking."  Motorola took the opportunity to show off its seamless mobility solutions in an enormous MOTO ME booth (shown right).  Check out a long list of MOTO ME goodness (including iRadio) in Motorola's press release.

Motorola CEO Ed Zander spoke on a panel titled View From the Top:  Leadership Perspectives, and Nick Chakalos, VP Motorola Connected Home Solutions, spoke on the panel, Digital Domesticity: Why Cable’s Right at Home. You can check out photos and coverage of the event at the event's blog, the National Show Insider.

(Photo above by P. Rodriguez at NSI)

iRadio Looking For A Web Designer/Developer

Greetings!  Having returned from a brief job search hiatus, I am now looking to catch up on some Motorola iRadio news. To kick it off, it seemed appropriate to start with something near and dear to my heart: a job opportunity.

Motorola is looking for an iRadio Web Designer/Developer:

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

Work with other members of the iRadio team (engineering, business development, marketing) to develop solutions to a variety of design-related projects.

The candidate should know HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Macromedia Flash, JavaScript, DHTML, ClearCase, and all that good stuff.  "Familiarity with weblogs" is also a plus.  See?  Reading iRadio Waves is GOOD FOR YOUR CAREER.

So, it looks like Motorola is getting even closer to launch...either that, or they're behind schedule, and are hence looking for more people to build it.  Check out the full job details here

April 07, 2006

Motorola Cleans House at CTIA Wireless Emerging Technology Awards and Technology Marketing Awards

Well, CTIA Wireless 2006 is now over, and Motorola CEO Ed Zander will be returning home with a stack of coasters bling award plaques from the Emerging Technology Awards and Technology Marketing Awards ceremony.

Check out Motorola's winnings:

Category: Hardware - Mobile Phone/Camera Phone
1st place for Motorola SLVR L7

Category: Best Overall Campaign
1st place for Motorola RAZR & PEBL

Category: Broadcast Media - Television
1st place for Motorola PEBL

Category: Direct Mail & Collateral
1st place for Motorola SLVR

Category: Print Advertising - Color
2nd place for Motorola RAZR

Category: Print Advertising - Color
2nd place for Motorola RAZR
3rd place for Motorola PEBL

Category: Hardware - Wearable Wireless Device
3rd place - for Motorola and Burton Audex(TM) Jacket

Category: Consumer Application - Mobile Entertainment Application
Honorable Mention - Motorola Inc. Connected Home Solutions for Motorola iRadio(R)

Add iRadio's honorable mention above to the DEMExpo "Best Radio Service" award, and you're got a nice set of bling for a service that hasn't even launched yet..!  But a nice showing by Moto in all of its recent ad campaigns -- kudos to the marketing team.

A side note worth mentioning, CTIA Wireless attendees voted the Samsung T509 camera phone "Best In Show" a direct competitor with the RAZR, and the slimmest US handset to date, it's worth checking out.

April 06, 2006

The Rough, Tough, Motorola i580 Launches

Motorola i580Some people might say that anything encased in rubber is sexy.  Those folks would go ga-ga over the Motorola i580.  (...that was a wierd thing to write...)

Anyway, behold, the Motorola i580, an iDen handset built to withstand rain, dust, shock, and vibrations.  Check out its features:

  • Bluetooth
  • 1.3 Mega-pixel Camera
  • Mp3 Player
  • Durable rubber outer casing
  • Meets military standards for resisting the elements

Why didn't they call this phone the Motorola RUBR?

April 05, 2006

iRadio Partners With MediaBay and AccuWeather For Audio Books, Classic Radio, and Local Weather

Motorola made a couple huge announcements today at the CTIA Wireless conference.

First, Motorola partnered with MediaBay to offer Audio Book content (including audio books, educational and language courses, audio newspapers, self help programs, and audio travel guides) and Classic Radio programming (including popular radio shows from the past such as The Lone Ranger and The Shadow) to iRadio subscribers.

Second, Motorola partnered with AccuWeather to provide local weather forecasts for over 100 US cities to iRadio listeners.

I am not 100% certain if these additional programs will be included as part of the basic subscription including 435+ commercial-free seems like they are.  I'll post an update once I confirm.  (UDPATE: they are -- see below)

Deals such as these illustrate the advantage time-shifted radio has over satellite radio; Sirius and XM are both limited to under a couple hunder content channels, while iRadio can expand indefinitely to include taste-targeted, media-targeted, and geo-targeted content.  Calculate:

435 channels of content + #,### channels of consumer-generated channels (made available through the iRadio Get Heard Network) + podcast compatibility = a whole lotta options

Quite frankly, it's a little overwhelming.  But quite cool.  Talk about attacking the "Long Tail" of demand...

UPDATE:  The 101 weather channels, 70+ audio book channels, and 20+ classic radio channels are indeed all part of the basic iRadio subscription.  That makes for roughly 620 channels of included radio programming...impressive!

Sony BMG Signs on with Motorola iRadio

Sony BMG Music Entertainment became the third major record label to sign on with Motorola's iRadio music subscription service.  As with the Unversal deal and Warner deal, Song BMG's huge catalog of artists will now be avaialable on any of iRadio's 435+ commercial free channels.

As part of the agreement, Sony BMG will provide exclusive programming to iRadio, in a similar way that Universal and Warner have agreed to provide artist-exclusive channels.  Expect to see channels involving Sony BMG artists such as Avril Lavigne, Pink, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre, Tool, Usher, etc.  More will be known closer to launch...whenever that is, anyway. (really, I'm not bitter...;)

With Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and now Sony BMG having joined iRadio, only EMI Group remains to sign.  That announcement will probably arrive soon -- the Gorillaz, which are an EMI Group band, recently partnered with Motorola to provide media and technology at a series of Gorillaz, at least some kind of relationship between EMI and Motorola is already in motion.

April 04, 2006

Apple & Helio To Launch iPhone This Spring

Telecomm market research company VisionGain believes Apple will release the iPhone in tandem with Helio's launch in the US.  (Helio is a US MVNO formed by Earthlink and SK Telecomm.) 

According to the analyst, " The iPhone will likely be as disruptive to the existing carrier market as the iPod was to the mobile music industry. When the iPhone adds VoIP capability, it will be even more disruptive to carriers."

Spring 2006 is much closer than the 1-2 year waiting period many were assuming for a potential Apple iPhone and Mobile Me launch earlier this year.  iRadio's big value props were the use of a phone as the central music delivery unit, and the seamless listening experience between car, home, and on-the-go.  If iPhone indeed launches within the next few months, it's going to be quite a contest:  iRadio vs. iPhone vs. Satellite Radio.

Be sure to keep tabs on other iphone extras that are on the way... 

April 03, 2006

iRadio @ CTIA Wireless, Mobile Entertainment Summit, Billboard Mecca

Motorola iRadio will be making several appearances at the CTIA Wireless conference this week in Las Vegas:

Michael Gaumond, Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media Services, will be speaking at the Mobile Entertainment Summit on Tuesday about "The Future of Mobile Entertainment."

Dave Ulmer, Senior Director, Marketing, Digital Media Services, will be participating in the "New Revenue From Mobile Music" panel on the same day, along with representatives from MSpot, Gracenote, Merrill Lynch, Crisp Wireless, and IDC.

There will be a Motorola iRadio Auto Display at the Billboard Mecca conference as well. (Perhaps like the iRadio Solstice, iRadio roadster, or just the iRadio Hummer?)

Be sure to check them out, and look out for some of the big iRadio announcements hinted at earlier (new talk radio channels...etc...?).

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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