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Radio’s WiFi future on display

Today I got to play with a prototype of the new Internet-only handheld music player from Zing that features Sirius programming.

This is NOT the Stiletto. It’s the one that comes AFTER the Stiletto (see the Stiletto to the right in the second picture. The new unit is considerably smaller than Stiletto).

These are not the first pictures of the unit on the web, but they may be the first to show Sirius prominently. And maybe they’re also the blurriest.

Zing wouldn’t tell me just how this unit would eventually be tweaked to place Sirius front and center, but in the pictures here you can plainly see the Sirius menu.

As an Internet radio player this thing can get any number of stations, not just Sirius, but who needs any number of stations when you can get Sirius?

Can it get YOUR radio station stream? Yes. But first the user has to add it to the Zing list on their computer – it cannot be done from the unit directly. That’s called a speed-bump.

That means for the first time ever, listening to Satellite Radio (so-called) is actually EASIER than listening to terrestrial radio (so-called).

The unit will work on any open WiFi connection or any connection for which you can supply the access codes.

And it sounds great.

Look for major radio groups to do deals with companies like Zing. And become, in effect, head-to-head competitors with satellite radio companies on turf which provides them little or no competitive advantage.

Or to watch the future pass them by.

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