The airwaves are running out, and you may've noticed it from the data diet your phone company has probably went on, or from the inability to send texts from busy areas in the city.
The FCC has approved the transfer of 608 spectrum licenses to AT&T that cover about 82 percent of the US population. Don't start streaming those 1080p movies from your data plan just yet, as the new spectrum isn't going in effect any time soon. It'll be years before any of us can take advantage of it, we're afraid.
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Sirius XM, in a valiant effort to stay afloat, is launching an app for iPhone and iPod touch users to access the satellite radio service. Expected out in Q2, no extra equipment is needed to access the content for new subscribers. Although no specific price was mentioned, the company said it would be available to their 19 million regular subscribers as well as the 7 million U.S. iPhone users. This is good news for the beleaguered company since it has lost sales from automobiles and those who just cannot afford the luxury of the music service.
Read More | Reuters
It’s rare that things like this get covered in print before they do online, but XM‘s upcoming XMp3 device is one of the exceptions. Appearing in the latest issue of Popular Science, the XMp3 has yet to receive an official release date or price. What we do know is that it can decode, and record, up to five XM stations at one time. That’s kind of cool, we guess, although radio recording isn’t really our thing (although, some of that O&A stuff can get pretty hilarious.) Once we know more, you’ll know more. For now, just know it’s on its way.
Read More | OrbitCast
Sirius has finally completed their acquisition of XM. The company will now be called Sirius XM Radio (duh) and will consist of 18.5 million subscribers. They will have more exclusive programming in addition to Howard, Oprah, and Martha. Users have the option of maintaining their current packages, but it remains to be seen if SXM can get new $13.00 subscriptions and radio sales with the economy being the way it is. We think consumers may opt for a couple more gallons of gas instead.
Read More | Mobility Today
As part of the effort to have their merger approved by the FCC, former satellite radio rivals XM and Sirius introduced eight new pricing tiers they feel will be popular with current and new subscribers. Included is an “A la Carte” option that allows listeners to choose up to 50 channels from one service, for $6.99/month, almost half the current $12.99 fee. However, “premium” channels (assumed to be the sports, Oprah and Howard Stern channels) will not be included. Another “A la Carte” option allows listeners to choose up to 100 stations (including “premium”), from both services, for $14.99. The catch? Pre-merger subscribers who choose either option will have to buy a new receiver. There are 6 other options, including one geared toward families and one for sports fans—that don’t require buying a new receiver. The two companies hope the FCC will approve their merger by the end of the year. As a subscriber to XM Radio for nearly 2 years, this writer is very enthusiastic about the proposed pricing, even if it means purchasing a new radio.
Read More | New York Daily News
Fabrice Gonet, Jorg Hysek, and Valerie Ursenbacher decided to team up to form the HD3 Complication, designing watches based on their imaginations. Now one of these has come to fruition, although only 11 of them will be created. The Vulcania, named after Captain Nemo’s home port and devised by Gonet, has a deep-set 3-dimensional display on an etched map back plate. Hours are counted from rotating cylinders on the left, while minutes are determined on a Chadburn Telegraph-like wheel. The watch also features a sextant power reserve indicator and porthole loop date window. In a case of titanium and platinum, the functions can be viewed underneath sapphire glass panels. It is too bad that Jules Verne couldn’t live to see his tale inspiring more than just “Under the Sea” readers.
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. have just announced that they have come to an agreement to merge. Monopoly outcries are likely a sure bet, as the deal would result in the consolidation of the two two companies in the subscription-only satellite radio business, so we can expect federal regulators to be looking at this deal under the microscope long and hard before it’s hopeful approval. The companies have also announced that Mel Karmazin, Sirius CEO, would become CEO of the newly formed company, while Gary Parson, XM chairman, would remain in the same position.
The advantages of internet radio over FM (and arguably satellite radio) are plenty: thousands of diverse stations, better sound, less ads and even fewer annoying DJ’s. The downside? A computer was always required to access this wonderful medium. Coming to the rescue is the Acoustic Energy WiFi Internet Radio, a standalone device that’s not only pre-loaded with over 5000 internet radio stations, but doesn’t need a computer…only an available WiFi connection. Translation? No monthly subscriber fees. You can program stations that aren’t included with the radio, and it can even pick up English-speaking stations in foreign countries. Plus, you can hook it up to your network to play your music files. Too bad the price tag is a wince-inducing $300 USD. But if you’re a satellite subscriber, you may want to break out your calculator and crunch some numbers…
For all the Howard Stern fanboys out there who just can’t get enough, the Sirius Stiletto 100 may be right up your alley. This is the first handheld portable that Sirius has released that can go toe-to-toe with the XM Radio equivalents, like the Helix. The Stiletto 100 provides on-the-go satellite radio from Sirius, and a 100-hour recording capacity, allowing you to record the tracks that you find most appealing (or, the best recipes from Martha Stewart, as it were.) If you are out of range from a Sirius signal, the internal WiFi antenna gives access to 64 commercial-free Sirius Internet radio streams. You can also flag your favorites, which ties in to Yahoo’s Music Jukebox, allowing you to make a purchase of the song to store on your PC and Stiletto. The device can play both MP3 and WMA files. The pleasure of owning one of these will run you about $350 USD.
Read More | Sirius Stiletto 100