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Gadgets -Internet Connected Radio Answers to Shifting Consumer Demands

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August 18, 2010

Internet Connected Radio Answers to Shifting Consumer Demands

By Stefania Viscusi
Assignment Desk Editor

Internet-connected devices have continued to climb in popularity for their ability to bring together functionality, mobility, and entertainment - all into one device.

In the radio arena, and with a market where streaming music online is stronger than ever, one company is introducing innovative products that bring consumer choice to digital content.

Kings Langley, U.K.-based PURE offers devices that let users enjoy streaming music without having to be tethered in front of a computer.

According to a survey by Arbitron, more than one in seven persons aged 25–54 years old listened to online radio each week in the U.S. and 13 percent of the American population listened to the radio online in 2008, compared with 11 percent in 2007.

The company’s EVOKE Flow, Oasis Flow and Siesta Flow devices (pictured below) will be available in the later part of September.

I had the chance to review the EVOKE Flow unit, a portable digital and Internet connected radio with FM capabilities with an MSRP of $229. Perhaps one of the company’s best known devices – the EVOKE Flow has won over 30 awards to date including “Radio Product of the Year.”

Loosely reminiscent of the clunky, battery-powered boom boxes of the 80’s – this device adds a modern-day twist by incorporating wireless connectivity and advanced features to personalize each users listening experience.

In a recent interview with TMCnet, Charles Bellfield, general manager of PURE North America said that while it’s not a new market, it is finally becoming mainstream as more than 70 percent of U.S. consumers are now connected to the Internet through broadband connections.

“Within the radio/audio market, PURE allows consumer access to content beyond their physical location through attractive consumer electronics products in the correct location, not just through personal computers and Web browsers” Bellfield said.


 

When I first plugged in the device it easily turned on and uploaded easy to follow instructions on the screen. After navigating through a few menus, I checked through “Reggaeton” as a genre, Italian radio stations from the menu – both pretty distinct categories I don’t easily find, and scrolled through an endless list of music choices. 

Also notable was the clear audio that, when turned up – emitted loud enough volume to fill a standard-size room with plenty of sound.

Also included on the radio is an Auxiliary speaker port headset, stereo and auxiliary in port, so users can plug in an iPod, iPhone (News - Alert), even blackberry. Options for a USB Ethernet or WiFi connection to stream the radio are also included.

For users looking to go green and take their music on-the-go, users can also purchase an optional battery pack for the EVOKE Flow and will be available for MSRP $59.99.

Take my music with me, and save the planet? Definitely looking to invest in that option.

Another notable mention of the devices capabilities was the fact that in addition to attaching an iPod, or picking a FM radio station, users can access PURE's proprietary radio and media portal by connecting to an available WiFi (News - Alert) network.

The PURE Lounge is an online library for storing and organizing favorite stations and synchronizing content to the radio.

“The ease of searching, selecting, storing and syncing between products the consumers favorite audio or digital content sources is an essential component of successfully delivering a connected content experience,” Bellfield said.

“The PURE Lounge is our aggregation site and source of great content online, easily accessible through our products, web browsers and new and exciting products going forward.”

Other functionalities like storing 10 preset stations, on-screen display for audio levels, WiFi signal and radio reception are also offered.

I’ve had the device sitting on an end table in my living room and it has worked as a decorative piece, a radio when I want to hear music, an alarm clock, and is the center piece of guest conversations for those amazed by the advancement in consumer technologies today.


What's next for PURE? Bellfield said the company is developing a number of new products in the connected digital content space including physical products, connected services and easy access to the content consumers want.

This music lover will be keeping her eyes peeled for those.


Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering voice and Voice over IP technologies. She also oversees production of TMCnet's e-Newsletters in the areas of Internet telephony and speech technology. To read more of Stefania's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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