HD Radio on the Zune!

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zuneSiPortIC has made a breakthrough in the realm of HD Radio portability. Their single chip Digital Broadcast Receiver now offers HD capability. That chip makes the Zune HD Radio the lowest power device in the running.

Here are SiPortIC’s comments from their press release:

“SiPort perfected the HD Radio solution for portable devices and made the upgrade from analog FM to HD possible, especially for devices that have tremendous constraints in power, form factor and performance,” said Aiman Kabakibo, CEO SiPort. “SiPort worked very closely with Microsoft to address
these challenges and enable Zune HD users to enjoy the rich new digital content of HD radio without compromising battery life, form factor, and cost.”

The chip with the lowest power consumption for its size is a coup for any in the mobile arena. As we all know, the “special features” of our mobile devices generally suck a lot of battery life. Anything that lessens that effect while creating new capabilities is a sought after prize.

Here is another piece from the same source, addressing the obvious importance of this breakthrough for HD adoption:

“HD Radio is a key differentiator for Zune HD that improves Zune’s FM radio functionality and adds new sources of music programming and information,” said Susan Kevorkian, Program Director with IDC’s Digital Marketplace: Mobile Media and Entertainment service. “This is important because we know from our survey research that more than a third of U.S. survey respondents identify FM radio as their preferred source of music, making it by far the most popular source of music overall. Yet a key gating factor to consumer adoption of HD Radio -until now – has been a lack of compelling, competitively-priced devices.”

While HD is an exciting technology, there has been a barrier to adoption since its inception: price. Various efforts have been made to bring the prices down, and with frequent and reliable success I might add. Still, the price point and lack of portability have been a hindrance to the medium. The advent of a pocket-sized HD solution, integrated with all the other features modern consumers expect from radio, could be the breakthrough needed for HD to have the growth spurt it deserves.

Now comes one other essential question: How well does it function? I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for the product reviews that I’m sure will hit soon. I’ll let you know what they think.

Image: Avatar /K / CC BY-ND 2.0
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