MP3 Players are certainly the big, cool new toy. I’m busy coveting a few models myself. But you generally have to copy your music files from a computer before you can be musically mobile. Now, that doesn’t bother me much, but what if I want to listen to my Sirius programming? And I’m not home? I’m walking to the bus. Or just walking, enjoying the spring day. Well, a new company called ZING has been very clever. They are making it possible to have a portable player which is Wi-Fi-enabled as well as being able to receive satellite radio programing. Smart phones like the Samsung a920 previously reviewed here – can already let it’s owner buy and download songs from a “music store”, and listen to it immediately. You can even listen to Sirius Channel one. But you don’t get any other Sirius channels. Yet!
ZING announced all this in a press release during the Wall Street Journal?s “D: All Things Digital” conference.
ZING has partnered with Sirius to move that great programming into the hands of subscribers like me. Pictured is the Zing prototype. It had Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios built in plus 8MB of flash memory. Now, we don’t know what may be added or changed when the Real Thing becomes available. Naturally, I am most interested in the ability to stream Sirius content. Will it let me get any channel? Obviously Sirius is being very careful about internet access to it’s content. After all, they don’t want people stealing the programming without paying for it. They may solve the issue with a ZING device the same way they have each Sirius subscriber registering their Sirius radios.
ZING is planning some fairly sophisticated software. Over the the Wi-Fi network you can talk with your friends like it’s a walkie-talkie. People who remember Dick Tracy will be seen reenacting the comic strip as they stroll down the boulevard.
It will store all the songs and albums you wish to download and do it in one lump when your unit is in Wi-Fi range. If all it did was duplicate a smart phones’ ability to download music, it wouldn’t be too interesting to me. But having Sirius content makes it usable and convenient. And, I’m sure the clever people at Sirius and ZING sort of figured that out. Now, we just have to see if they get all the details right.