Slacker, a music service in the same vein of the likes of Last.fm, has announced their portable device avatar which would allow the people to carry their music with them. However, its **not** just another version of the iPod, but has taken this whole new genre a notch further. Unlike iPods, this new Slacker portable device would continously update itself with the latest music depending on your taste. Powered by their own satellite, it keeps on pumping new tracks on your device. Just select the station, and then start listening. Moreover, you can also vote for your favorites or ban the ones you detest! Damn.. I'd do that to the likes of Britney Spears..
When I read about this, the first concern was - What if I'm not in the range of WiFi or their satellite? Well, there's some intellegent workarounds for this one. A local cache is maintained on the device itself which would still enable you to listen to the cached music. However, I'm still unaware of the limitations of the cache memory in terms of its size, or may be they do allow an extendible memory. Don't know much about that.
Now something about the device itself. Its similar to the size of a Blackberry phone and so allows it to be truly portable. Further, the communication between the device and the satellites happen every 15 seconds, so you won't be fazed with the problem of refreshing your tracks. They do provide a large 4" screen which displays album art, artist information and visualizations in vivid color.. Err.. but where are the videos?? Perhaps the second generation devices would need to incorporate that in them.
They have already licensed around 2 million tracks and so it won't be really easy not to find a desired track among them. The jukebox software remains free, barring the premium version which would be devoid of any ads and would cost around $7.50 a month.
All in all, an interesting concept and I wish they do include the videos. Yeah, I do understand that the licensing of the videos would probably be a touch costly, and the only way I see them bringing it would be in the premium service. And yeah, not yet available, this is a forthcoming product