Some people may have already heard about the Slacker software service which allows you to create your own customized radio stations on your computer, but now you can transfer those customized stations to the Slacker Portable Player to listen on-the-go.
The new Slacker Portable Player is on display at this year's CES, and it will be available this month. This portable player will come in 3 versions: 2GB (stores 15 radio stations), 4GB (stores 25 radio stations), or 8GB (stores 40 radio stations). Each model sports a huge 4" LCD display (not a touch-screen...booo!), a jog dial for navigating, a touch-sensitive strip used for scrolling, and integrated Wi-Fi (Yeahhh!).
The Slacker Portable Player isn't like the typical MP3 player, because it plays radio stations that are customized for you personally. The Slacker software is free to download and use. All 4 major labels are signed-on with Slacker, so you are able to choose from thousands of the most popular artists and songs to be played on your station. There are also a ton of music from "not-so-maintstream" artists, so you can really get a good mix of music. Music can be transferred from the computer to the Slacker Portable Player via USB or Wi-Fi.
Screenshot of the Slacker software
The basic Slacker service is free to use, but it does include a couple of commercials every hour. Also, the free service only allows you to skip up to 6 songs per hour. If you don't want to deal with these limitations, you can opt for the premium Slacker service which will cost you $7.50 per month for a 1 year agreement. This paid service will do away with commercials and limitations on how many tracks you can skip over while listening. The premium service adds a nice feature as well, which allows you to save any song to your library while you listen to it.
Overall, this little player is something new and fresh, but it does have some significant drawbacks; such as the ones that I mentioned earlier. One other gripe that I have with this gadget is that it won't play video - what a shame, because it does have a beautiful screen!
Pricing for the Slacker Portable Player is not cheap by any means, but most devices like this one which include integrated Wi-Fi aren't. $200 (2GB), $250 (4GB), $300 (8GB)
Sources: Yahoo Tech and Slacker
Joe Eitel's Gadget Blog