In a pair of separate announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show, Pioneer and Samsung unveiled new portable XM satellite radios that incorporate MP3 players.
Along with live XM reception and the ability to store and play MP3 and WMA files, both Pioneer’s Inno and Samsung’s Helix store up to 50 hours of XM programming. The ability to time-shift listening is critical to wearable satellite radios, which require direct line-of-sight to one of the service’s satellites for live listening.
Trumpeted as “a major milestone in portable audio,” both units carry a $400 retail price tag and allow users to bookmark songs heard on XM for later purchase from the XM-Napster online music store — when the unit is connected to a computer.
Samsung offers two lower priced XMP3 players that receive live broadcasts, but only when tethered to a home or car docking station. Priced at $200, the Samsung Nexus 25 stores up to 25 hours of XM programming. For $50 more, the Nexus 50 accommodates up to 50 hours of XM content. Both include MP3 players.
XM announced the world’s first wearable satellite radio, Delphi’s MyFi, in late 2004, followed ten months later by a similar product from rival Sirius. The Sirius S50, unveiled last August with a suggested retail price of $360, added MP3 capability but didn’t allow live radio listening.
Separately at CES, XM and Audiovox pulled the curtain back on the Passport, a miniature portable tuner that delivers XM to XM-ready products for the home, car and portable use. Measuring 1.3 inches wide, 1.65 inches long and 0.44 inches thick, the cartridge is inserted into a docking station connected to a sound system or inserted directly into a port. The Passport and home and car docking stations are priced at $30 each.
Finally, XM and Advanced Global Technology have teed up the Sportscaster, a plug-and-play unit with functions and options designed for sports fans.