Covering CES from the Airport

I’m here at the airport waiting to board the plane for my flight home, and this is the first chance I’ve had to post for ZNF. On the amount of sleep I’ve had, I’m not sure how coherently I can string together sentences, but I’ll give it a shot with a couple of belated updates from CES.


First, I got a chance to see the new Slacker handset at Showstoppers the other night and I’m a fan. I know folks are wary of the music delivery model that Slacker has adopted – streaming and caching Internet radio stations over Wi-Fi – but I think it’s great to have an option other than the music download model. I’m a lazy music listener, and I’d much prefer to have the type of music I like fed to me than have to search it out and build my own collection.

New things I learned from the Slacker folks:

  • Whenever you have access to an Internet connection, Slacker will automatically download music for you. There’s a default where roughly 100 tracks are downloaded from your top stations, but Slacker will adjust the default setting based on your behavior. If you primarily access two stations, Slacker will add more content from those sources and less from others.
  • Download speeds come in at roughly one second per song.
  • In the free service model, you get six skips on your streamed or cached content per hour per station. However, every ten minutes you get one of those skips back.

Slacker is in a rough business, so it’s hard to know if they can survive the coming slings and arrows. But I think the company has hit on something big. I wonder who will follow in its footsteps.

More on CES in the coming days. Dave’s still on site, but I will be comfortably back at my local Starbucks by tomorrow morning.

5 thoughts on “Covering CES from the Airport”

  1. Sounds like a great service. Unlikely it’ll succeed as a hardware platform though. This is going to compete with the iPod? If you say it doesn’t, then you mean people don’t have ANY CDs or digital music of their own. If they do, they’ll buy an iPod. If these guys, or Apple, or whoever, can figure out how to build a service that people would pay for per month and leverage the WiFi on the iPod Touch/iPhone, then maybe they’d have a chance…

  2. My wife and I are both currently using Slacker on the web and love it. I can’t wait for the device. The stations I’ve chosen/created for the most part play choices that are perfect for me. I am too much of a “slacker” to deal with updating my iPod.

  3. I hate to be the contrarian but as I sit here listening to the Engadget podcast, reading blogs and responding to email (while text messaging), I think “the next big thing” will be a comfortable chair in a quiet room.

  4. Big John, after seven days of non-stop action here in Vegas (and one more day to go) I completely agree and am looking forward to a few days of rest.

    Speaking of Vegas, I have some Slacker thoughts to post as well… and some interesting related news. I plan to get a brief post up tonight or tomorrow with a video (of something different) and a link to a web gallery. More content will follow once I’ve recovered a bit.

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