I haven’t been paying much attention to the wi-fi radios that have come out recently, but the Logitech Squeezebox Radio certainly caught my attention:
I particularly like the fact this integrates both with Pandora (free) and Rhapsody (paid) streaming music services. (I don’t have a large music collection, but make-up for it with a Rhapsody subscription.) It’s also a nice feature that you can download apps for the radio, but don’t expect the quality or quantity of apps that you’d find on the iPhone.
I wonder if these radios will be to digital radio what eBooks are to digital books? Sure, you can listen to music on your computer but there is something nice about just turning on a dedicated device and having it work -- particularly for the non-techies among us.
You could probably duplicate most of the features of the Squeezebox using an iPod Touch or netbook and a high-quality speaker, but it wouldn’t be as nicely integrated and a bit more expensive if you didn’t already have the gear.
One design criticism I have for the Squeezebox is the lack of an audio-out port on the back of the unit -- something critical for hooking it up to a home stereo. There is a headphone port on the side which has the same function, but for people who like to avoid cable clutter, the placement of a port on the back of the unit would have been a nice touch.
I have a Tivoli PAL I bought years ago and am still impressed with the sound, quality, and simplicity of the radio. The Logitech Squeezebox takes the same idea and moves it into the Internet age. Well done!