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Sunday January 7, 2007 2:12 pm

CES 2007: InFusion Pointless Portable Internet Radio Device

Description Torian Wireless showed us their InFusion portable internet radio device, for those of you who cannot get enough of… well… I don’t really know anyone who listens to internet radio with any regularity. The InFusion supports SD/MMC cards and can play MP3, AAC and OGG, along with a built-in FM radio. Its raison d’état, of course, is internet radio and as such, it has 802.11b (yes, b) support to play back internet radio wherever a Wifi access point exists. It allows for time-shift recording and scheduled recordings, but as far as I’m concerned, podcasts handle this behavior a lot more gracefully, and internet radio is really rather stumbling around and looking for its place. The device itself was a bit awkward, and felt like another also-ran late-coming MP3 player with a low contrast screen that should do a hell of a lot more for the $229.99 asking price. But maybe it’ll find its place in Torian’s native Australian. I’ll be honest: I’m really not sure about internet radio penetration here or abroad.

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You know, if the box could play Pandora or Rhapsody over Wifi OR EDGE alternatively (read: was a music-playing cell phone), I’d consider it. Instead, a device that relies on your having access to an unencumbered wifi access point in order to stream whatever internet radio is active at the moment just seems pointless.

Chances are, you won’t get too many chances to use it away from your base, and in that case, your standard MP3 player could easily replicate something similar.


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