Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More on iRadio

Yesterday it was Vongo and today it's iRadio. The noise levels are picking up in anticipation of CES in Vegas later this week. Here are a few more about the Motorola service.

The TheStreet.com compares iRadio with Verizon's soon to be launched V Cast Music service, which plans to offer mobile music downloads. According to Roger Entner at Ovum, "Motorola's latest efforts still miss the mark" in reference to Motorola's earlier ill-fated Rokr.

Entner said, "It's an ugly detour, and an acknowledgement of how challenging of a business model it is to offer music. There are phones that already have an FM tuner in them -- why do I have to pay $7 a month for radio?" Enter still believes music phones "will become a hugely popular," but only "with the right software and a good connection through the air," he said. "Motorola has been able to get form factors right, but they can't get the other parts to the puzzle yet."

David Card at JupiterResearch blogs a different viewpoint of iRadio. He's "warming up to Motorola's iRadio," and states that

I'm not a huge fan of taking canned music/talk content with you, versus on-demand access. Still, the experience could be similar to satellite radio (most people don't listen to all 125 channels). And I really like that Motorola is allowing a user to blend the radio programming with his own playlists.
The other good thing about the service he notes is:
This idea is way more practical than over-the-air downloads right now. The fact that it's a subscription will allow the carriers to take their cut. You can bookmark favorites for later purchase, something Napster's doing with radio, too.
Over at Sci-Tech Today, Nitin Gupta at Yankee Group said "Motorola is backing off from its iTunes relationship, and it will be interesting to see how it markets this new offering given that it competes with existing music services offered by Sprint, Verizon, and other carriers."

While Gupta noted "iRadio might be more cost effective because bandwidth is much less expensive on the PC than it is on the wireless carriers' networks," he said "there is a lot of competition from satellite radio and iTunes when it comes to providing audio on the move."

Gupta added, "This is a service targeted at a device that millions of people are buying, and the mobile phone is a good vector for audio, but manufacturers and carriers still have to convince consumers that the phones are not just communications devices."