Sirius-ly portable

Sirius-ly portable

Sirius today announced the S50, a new portable music device that can play back as much as 50 hours of recorded satellite radio programming. While the tiny S50--it's roughly the size of an iPod Mini--is the first truly portable audio player from Sirius, it's not actually a standalone satellite receiver: it needs to be docked to a home or car receiver to play live Sirius programming or to transfer previously recorded programs to play back when on the go. In fact, the S50 appears to be aimed squarely at the forthcoming Samsung/XM digital music players, which have an almost identical feature set. And like the Samsungs, the Sirius S50 can double as a standard MP3 player. The S50 is scheduled to become available in October and will retail for about $360. It ships with the car kit, but the home kit, with PC connectivity, will cost $100 extra. Meanwhile, those who want to be able to listen to live satellite radio in a Walkman-like form factor will have to have to stick with the XM2go line.

Interestingly, the new "satellite" products are really just digital music players that can sync prerecorded programming queued up on base stations. Both XM and Sirius already stream their stations to subscribers online (in tandem with the space-based broadcasts)--streams that could otherwise be called live podcasts. Not to belabor a point, but would it really be that hard to integrate these services with iTunes, so you could download a few hours of your favorite satellite broadcast to your iPod? Just a thought.

About the author

John P. Falcone is the executive editor of CNET Reviews, where he coordinates a group of more than 20 editors and writers based in New York and San Francisco as they cover the latest and greatest products in consumer technology. He's been a CNET editor since 2003.


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