XM Radio, Tao and Pioneer:
XM Radio, for the time being, continues to be the undisputed king of satellite radio. At CES 2005 they made an announcement related to portable entertainment which they hope will bring more small satellite devices to the palm of your hand.
Buoyed in part by strong sales of the first of its kind device from Delphi over this past holiday season, XM unveiled the upcoming expansion of third party branded XM2Go portable satellite radios. It was announced that two new manufacturers, Pioneer and Tao (Giant International), will be set to launch handheld models this year which have built in satellite chips and do not require connections to external satellite antennas.
The new XM2Go devices (Pioneer is calling theirs the AirWare, while Tao has no dedicated name beyond XM2Go as of yet) will for the most part be identical in function. Each will sport a rechargeable battery, access to XMs full digital channel line up, built in FM modulation and a time shifting mode known as My XM. This last feature will allow users to be able to store five hours of music or programming on internal memory chips, either by setting predefined recording times or choosing to do spur of the moment recording.
While the features may be similar, the navigation buttons and actual design of each device is different. Whereas Pioneer is pushing a silver device with numerical, rectangular keys and a scroll wheel, the Tao unit has a black, industrial look with included scroll wheel and buttons which are more oval in shape.
The Tao and Pioneer models, each priced at just under $350, are due sometime in the spring. Both models are expected to have a line of supporting accessories like belt clips and carrying cases as well.