New Music Service Takes on iTunes and Satellite Radio

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple has enjoyed a healthy share of the digital media player market, thanks to the iPod. Moreover, the iPod and iTunes have set a new standard in the digital music industry -- a standard that many have tried to imitate but no one has surpassed. However, a new music service dubbed "Slacker" has got many industry buffs talking about whether or not this new device can knock Apple off its podium.

Broadband Instruments has just launched a beta version of Slacker. Users can register for a beta account to receive free, ad-supported access to the company's 10,000 music stations. Users also have the ability to create their own stations by indicating their preferences; Slacker's back-end software can then customize a station based on the user's selections.

In the future, Broadband Instruments plans to include an application that will organize all of the music on a user's computer, much like iTunes and other software players. (Source:

Although the beta version may sound merely mediocre, there is more to come for Slacker. Broadband Instruments plans on releasing a Slacker portable player, which will feature a large 4 inch LCD display and be available in 2, 4, and 8 GB configurations. The screen will display album art, playlists, and the device interface which users will navigate using a scroll touch strip. Custom stations will be automatically updated on the media device, which will also include WiFi connectivity. (Source:

Not only is Slacker aiming to be competition for the iPod and iTunes, it also poses a threat to XM, Sirius and other satellite radio stations; Slacker is planning on releasing its own satellite service. The company plans to sell car kits and push programming using Ku-band satellites. The car kits will be able to store music so that subscribers can still hear music when they are out of reach of a satellite signal. (Source:

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