ARCHIVE: Mobile Music

May 19, 2006

Mobile Music Services Overpriced 85%

It's official.  Mobile music services are overpriced by up to 85%, according to Strategy Analytics.  In summary, the Sprint Mobile Music Store is better than Verizon's V Cast service, but both cost too much.  Where will iRadio fit in the scenario?

(via MocoNews, via Mobile Analyst Watch)

April 27, 2006

Billboard Praises Motorola Over Nokia and Samsung

Antony Bruno at Billboard.biz 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 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...?).

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.

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 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)

March 04, 2006

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...

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 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 15, 2006

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.

February 14, 2006

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.

February 09, 2006

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 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.

January 30, 2006

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 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.

January 05, 2006

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

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 02, 2006

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!

December 20, 2005

Engadget Interview With Rob Glazer: Music Subscriptions Etc

Engadget interviewed Rob Glazer, CEO of RealNetworks to discuss music subscription services, what's holding them back, and what it will take for them to succeed going forward. A nice overview of Real's strategy in the space, including the Rhapsody Web Services Initiative and Rhapsody.com releases.

Rob hammered away at the idea of "interoperability" being critical, and why Apple's strategy of end-to-end control isn't sustainable. While talking about music phones, Rob vented a bit, mentioning HP's and Motorola's experiences with Apple:

ROB: "Since we’re not a portable device company, we don’t have it out for Apple in any abstract sense because Apple has already said: “Hey, they want end-to-end control of everything. It’s not worth it for them to support compatibility with other people.” Go talk to the people at HP on how their partnership with Apple worked out. Go talk to people at Motorola, if you can, because they still work with them, and talk to their director about how their partnership with Apple worked out."

It will be interesting to see how future ROKR versions perform, versus iRadio-compatible phones. I imagine iRadio phones will be feature rich relative to their ROKR cousins. If iRadio takes off, will Motorola maintain its relationship with Apple?

December 16, 2005

Google Music and Mobile Devices

M-Trends made a nice observation regarding Google's potential dive into the mobile music space, with its recent moves in music search and mobile content. It will be interesting to see how these user experiences evolve, and how they will interact with existing mobile music subscription services. Music services (Napster, Rhapsody, iRadio, MSpot...whoever) may want to seriously consider offering streamed media content to Google for Google Music results. The lead generation potential is big.

Related Links:
Google's Music Search Announcement
Paid Content's Coverage of Google Music
Engadget's Wrap-Up of Mobile Search options

December 12, 2005

Label Signing Announcement Delayed

Well, it looks like Motorola will be holding off on announcing the latest label to sign on with the iRadio music service, apparently -- sorry for the false alarm. The idea is, wait for more news, launch simultaneously, create a bigger splash. Motorola seems to be focusing all its energy on the upcoming 2006 International CES conference in January...

December 07, 2005

Tao Launches Tao Wireless Media Player

The Tao Wireless Media Player launched into the WiFi-enabled portable music device space yesterday. Consumers can download music from any available wireless hotspot, schedule recordings of favorite programs, and use the Tao device as an FM transmitter and receiver. A 20GB drive and two headphone jacks are included.

The degrees of separation within this industry are minimal. Tao also sells the Tao XM2go, a portable XM satellite radio player. Further, Tao is part of Giant International, which is actually a spin-off of Motorola’s two-way radio division. Interesting.

(via MocoNews via InternetNews)

December 01, 2005

Motorola iRadio Named Best Radio Service Over AOL, XM, and Yahoo

Motorola-iRadio-Named-Best-Radio-Service.jpgWow. A double-whammy for Motorola iRadio, coming in #1 at both the DEMXPO 2005 and GadgetFest 2005 today.

iRadio was named the Best Radio Service at the Digital Entertainment and Media Excellence Awards, beating nominees AOL Radio Network, Yahoo! Music’s LAUNCHcast Radio Service, and XM Satellite Radio. These are heavy hitters, with an interesting, distinguishing feature in common...they're actually available in stores! This is quite huge. It's late, so I'm going to leave it at that...for now.

Elsewhere, Motorola won the GadgetFest 2005 Best Cell Phone award. MOTO seems to be playing a lot of its cards right, now with a few more "accolades" under its belt to show off.

Congrats to the iRadio team!

UPDATE: Here's Motorola's press release about the award.

Mobile Music Technology Roadmap Seminar Wrap-Up

Enterprise Ireland and the Digital Hub sponsored the seminar, "Mobile Lifestyle - The Mobile Music Generation" back in October. The general theme: "Network infrastructure, marketing strategies, payment options and even the user interface on mobile phones must be carefully considered if there is to be mass market uptake of Mobile Music and other data services." Walled gardens, new digital music file formats, alliance and network challenges, etc etc were all discussed.

The mobile music seminar wrap-up is a nice review of the major issues mobile music players face in the industry, currently.

(via MocoNews)

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 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)

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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