Wireless Net radio is cooler than it looks

The Phoenix portable IP Radio

Phoenix IP Radio
Com One

The Phoenix IP Radio is a rather horrid-looking thing in an iPod'ish way, but it's definitely onto something: Portable, battery-powered internet radio streaming via built-in speakers and with no PC involved.

Just the fact that the Phoenix runs a Wi-Fi transceiver and its own amp & speakers on 4 AA's inspires a certain admiration. It has 8 preset station buttons, just like a car radio, and is also an alarm clock. Stream support includes ASX (Windows Media) and PLS (Shoutcast) playlists.

I don't imagine it sounds great with 2 watts of audio power trickling out of a pair of speakers the size of most people's areolae, but big sound isn't the idea here. (I'd hazard a guess that 90% of radio listening is background and low-fi anyway.) Rather, this thing seeks to ape the transistor radio revolution of the 1960's but with the huge array of today's streamed audio.

MSRP on the Phoenix IP Radio is $250 and, no, I've never heard of maker Com One either. Plain old streaming radio is projected to dwarf Satellite and HD radio combined for years to come, so there is room for several makers of these kinds of radios.

About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!


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