ARCHIVE: Mobile Radio

October 09, 2006

Motorola iRadio Digs Into Public Radio

Motorola announced today that music programming from NPR, American Public Media, and Public Radio International (PRI) will be made available on iRadio. Included in the programming are NPR shows Story of the Day, NPR Shuffle, and All Songs Considered; American Public Media's Marketplace, The Splendid Table and The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor; and PRI's The World, Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, and Open Source.

Jeff Stinson, Senior Director of Business Development at Motorola Digital Media Services, said:

Motorola iRadio shares the public radio system's mission to offer Americans high quality audio content that is meaningful and relevant to their lives. We are pleased to build on listeners' enjoyment of their local public radio stations by bringing this strong slate of content to their mobile phones.

Motorola iRadio has really amassed quite a repository of content over the last year, including music from five major record labels, several indie labels, and news and talk shows from The Associated Press, AccuWeather, and Taldia local news and national paper programs.

I'm impressed. I'm also very pleased -- my wife and I love NPR, especially All Songs Considered and All Things Considered. Way to go, Moto.

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 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 channels...it 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!

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...

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.

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 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 27, 2006

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 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 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.

December 30, 2005

iRadio Site Relaunched with Demo and Tutorial

It looks like Motorola is slowly arming itself for the iRadio launch in January.  The new iRadio site includes a couple Flash demos, a listing of the upcoming iRadio channels and generes, an explanation of the Get Heard Network, as well as a tutorial that explains how iRadio will work:

A little taste of how iRadio will work...

Pretty cool.  Click around and check out the funky visuals.

The iRadio Team may want to consider making both "Support" links lead to the same page -- having two options may confuse customers.  Also, the "What is iRadio?"/"On The Go" page seems to be blank?  That's easily fixed, though.  Otherwise, looking good.

(Thanks to Julio at Fusion Radio Chicago for the heads up)

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.

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 14, 2005

Mobile Radio: iRadio, Sirius, MSpot, Rhapsody Review

Sue Marek at WirelessWeek takes a look at some of the big mobile music offerings including Motorola iRadio, Sirius Satellite Radio, MSpot Radio, and Rhapsody To Go. Different players are touting different value propositions:

Motorola iRadio: Technology Innovation
Paul Alfieri, Motorola spokesman: iRadio links music discovery to acquisition on the mobile handset.

Sirius Satellite Radio: Content
Jim Collins, Sirius spokesman: "Content and programming will drive this business. Our retention rates are high."

MSpot Radio: Integrated Offering
Daren Tsui, CEO: “We want to leverage wireless with the online and tie it together."

Drew Hull, research director of mobile content at NPD Research, talked about Motorola iRadio: “Hull says the Motorola solution is a step in the right direction because it encourages consumers to build their personal music collection and incorporates many different elements such as streaming music, downloading and purchasing.”

Indeed, Motorola is covering a lot of ground with its solution, both in mobile music delivery (streaming, downloading, purchasing) and experience (car stereos, mobile phones, home stereos). It’s an impressive platform, but a complex one. Successfully communicating that message to customers will be one of their biggest challenges when launching iRadio.

(via MocoNews)

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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