It’s called the Aluratek USB Internet Radio Jukebox and it looks like a jump drive. It’s easy to fit on a key ring and usable wherever you have a free USB slot.
This is a radically different take on Internet radio. Instead of going to a station’s website or to a website that aggregates online radio streams, you just plug this gizmo into your laptop and start listening. You can choose from over 1,300 radio stations in 30 countries.
The question immediately arises, “Why would someone spend $30-40 on something they can do for free in a web browser?” The answer is ease of use. While it won’t necessarily seem attractive to regular users of WinAmp, ShoutCast, or a variety of other services, I predict it will have a serious draw amongst those who are less computer-oriented.
I’d be willing to bet the there is a market for a discreet, self contained device like this. The fact that you can move it from computer to computer is another positive feature that may provide a draw to the buying public. Portability of history and favorites could prove highly attractive to certain users.
According to reviews, the device operates in a fashion similar to to the increasingly common “air cards” that cell phone companies have been using for a few years now. You plug it in, it installs an app, and you’re off. (One reviewer of the device on Amazon.com noted that it does not automatically work with Windws XP, however.)
Speaking of Amazon reviewers, A. Dent (a top 50 reviewer) describes the gadget’s interface once the app is installed:
Interface: you get 2 top-10 lists that can be expanded to top-100, by region or by genre. The tops are not too useful, unless you really believe that the number one talk station in the world is broadcasting from Bulgaria but, it’s fun to have them there. The categories are usually hit and miss – you are almost as likely to find music on a ‘talk’ station as your are to find actual talk but… it’s no big deal, believe me. The stations are also classified by Genre and Location and, within each of these, you can sort them by ‘country’ – not all stations have a country assigned to them and Kansas and Kenya are both viewed as ‘countries’. You can include individual stations on your favorite list and you can vote them up or down. There is also a ‘history’ section, a ‘help’ section and a link to the maker of the product. Oh, the bottom of the window is reserved for advertising but, I bet, you are NOT likely to stare at the Aluratek windows while listening to the radio so it’s not bothersome.
So there you have it: a new and innovative approach to Internet radio!
Image courtesy of Aluratek