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The latest portable satellite radios--Ask the Editors

Editor Jasmine France answers all your questions about headphones, MP3 players, and accessories in the regular column.

All the political madness must be getting to my brain, because I apparently think MP3 Mailbox Monday is better suited to Tuesday this week. Luckily, the date doesn't affect the usefulness of the information herein. Namely, what's the deal with satellite radio lately? XM and Sirius officially merged this year, but things have been decidedly quiet other than that, with few exciting new product announcements. For subscribers, there's been some confusion over whether to upgrade equipment now or hold out for a possible combination of the signals or new gadgets that can receive both services. Some answers to that below.

The Stiletto 2 is holding strong. Sirius

Q: While searching for what is "new" for Sirius radios, I ran across your Aug 15, 2007 article on the Stiletto 2, and thought you would be a person in-the-know. I recently found out that my S50 radio will not handle the best-of-XM service being offered by Sirius. I guess that will teach me not to be the first in line to buy semiportable satellite radios. Sirius is being very helpful in working with me to get a new radio (unfortunately they are not going to do it for free), and they are pushing the Stiletto 2.

My thought is that with Christmas coming, I am sure there is something new on the horizon. However, I can not find any rumors or articles discussing what they plan to do next. I would assume a portable radio that would handle both XM and Sirius signals, but I do not know how far down the road that is. Have you heard of what is coming next with Sirius portable radios? Should I go with the Stiletto 2, or wait?--Jesse, via e-mail

A: Although Sirius is offering the Best of XM access that you described, at this point, I haven't heard anything about Sirius XM combining the signals for the two services. Currently, the companies use two different compression and access systems, so the individual receivers are only compatible with the one service they are advertised for. However, Sirius XM has stated that any currently sold receivers will work with any service going forward, whether it is combined or separate.

Inno XMP3: Coming soon Pioneer

The only new portable satellite radio I've gotten wind of is the Pioneer XMP3, which I recently received for review (stay tuned). I'm fairly certain the Stilletto 2 is the most current portable radio for Sirius. I've had a heck of a time getting my hands on that one for some reason, but I think it's a pretty safe bet. My guess is that the company might be devising a way for a singular device to receive both signals, but it might be a while before we see the units hit the market.

MP3 Mailbox Monday is a recurring feature where I answer a selection of questions about MP3 players and accessories, such as headphones, speakers, and music services and software. Check back often to see if the advice presented here might be of some use to you, or send your questions directly to me. (Note: We never include last names, but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, please state as much in your e-mail.)