Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Only now they get it?

Through the blinding Internet blizzard that surrounded CES 2010, an interesting article caught my eye. Someone decided to downgrade the Sirius XM stock because of the announcement by Pioneer to integrate control of Pandora's iPhone app into their new line of AVIC navigation products.

I find this fascinating, not because people are seeing finally Internet radio as serious competition to satellite radio (I will temporarily ignore the fact that Pandora is a jukebox and not actually "radio"), but because it took a $1200 navigation system to make them see it. Folks have been able to integrate their mobile phones into their cars for nearly 4 years now, at the cost of a mere $10 for the cassette adapter or even less for a 1/8" stereo cable if they already had an AUX jack. If someone really wanted to go wild, they could splurge $50 for a more complete kit that included a power adapter.

So what's going on here? The answer, methinks, is integration and interface. Once we can use Internet radio in the car seamlessly, it becomes real. The solution by Pioneer, though, is still only a step in the right direction. The label "radio"comes with a specific user experience expectation...

Power on, turn the knob, and music comes out.

Sirius XM in the car delivers that experience. Internet radio in the car still does not. Once it does, then it will be a viable comptetitor to other forms of radio in the car. The good news is that we are almost there. Soon the perfect storm of integration, UI, and affordable connectivity will make Internet radio a truly viable alternative for in-car entertainment.

1 comment:

DJ Billman said...

There needs to be wifi available nationwide so you can tune it in your car.

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