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Dear HD Radio…this is what a hot product looks like

…even when it costs $600:

With about 19 million people in the U.S.–or roughly 9% of cell phone users–highly interested in purchasing Apple’s iPhone, AT&T is looking at a possible windfall of new customers, two new consumer surveys show.

Obviously very few new products stack up this way. But the reason I wave this in our face is to illustrate an important point:

It’s research among consumers that indicates whether or not a product is likely to be a hit.

It’s not about what stores carry what equipment or who makes the equipment or what automakers include the equipment or what stations broadcast in HD to enable the equipment.

It’s not about any of that.

Fundamentally, a new technology – a new product – is either hot or it’s not.

And it’s all up to the consumer.

So show us the research indicating HD Radio is a hot technology – among consumers.

It can’t be done.

Not because the research doesn’t exist but because that’s not what it shows.

iBiquity head Robert Struble is quoted in Business Week:

In five to seven years, says Struble, you won’t walk into an electronics store and ask to buy an HD Radio. Simply ask for a radio, he says, and you’ll get one with HD capabilities already built in.

First, when have you ever seen a consumer walk into an electronics store and ask to buy a radio?

Second, the premise that HD will be part of every radio within seven years is certainly the kind of promise I would like to see in writing. What about you?

Third, as we ponder what consumers will want seven years from now, consider what was available to them seven years ago:

– The Internet came into your home at telephone speed, if at all – Google was barely incorporated – There was no podcasting because there were no iPods – Satellite Radio had yet to be born

Food for thought.

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