Thursday, November 02, 2006

Satellite synergy….it’s only the beginning.

For those of you who thought you’d never see the day…it’s finally here. If you are amazed at how a personal computer can fit into a shirt pocket, or a camera can be shoved inside a cell phone, then this will also boggle your mind. As if cell phones didn’t serve enough functions already, now they serve one more…a satellite radio receiver. I guess it was only a matter of time with this one though. I mean, we have two, portable satellite based technologies that serve the same functions – to receive audio/radio frequencies. Why have two separate components, when we can have one, compact unit? Well, it didn’t take XM and Cingular long to figure that one out.

Yesterday, XM broke news to its customers, newsletter subscribers and the world that it would be entering an exclusive partnership with Cingular wireless to offer customers the option of streaming satellite programming on their cell phones. In a press release sent via email to subscribers and newsletter recipients, XM stated that the new agreement provides Cingular customers with the option of receiving 25 XM channels on their cell phone for only $8.99/month. That’s right; you can eliminate the need for XM hardware and listen for $4 less than the full subscription rate. However, don’t be fooled by fancy-pants Mr. Marketing.

As it stands, this offer is a complete rip-off. Customers only get 25 channels for ¾ of the full subscription cost. That’s approximately 1/8 of the available XM channels for what should cost 1/8 of the full subscription cost ($12.95). By my calculations, this service should cost $2, not $9. Not to mention, XM will be selecting which channels you get to hear and don’t get to hear (something they scam people with through their online service too), and the sound quality will probably be less than optimal on a cell phone. XM should make it part of the deal that it can use Cingular’s transmitters, satellites and relay towers to increase XM reception and coverage, considering Cingular has “the fewest dropped calls.” Otherwise, I don’t think XM will really gain anything from this partnership.

I realize it’s still in the introductory stage, but this idea needs to be refined just a tad before going full steam. For now, the XM/Cingular package is just a load of digital garbage.

-thanks to gizmodo for the image!


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