UPDATE: July 10, 2008. We see from the comments that many of you want Pandora on the iPhone. It’s available now — enjoy!

Lots swirling around in the blogosphere today after our Pandora Everywhere announcements last night. The one element of last night’s event that I didn’t blog about here is the prototype connected media player we showed at the end of the night.
There’s been some confusion about just what we showed last night and I thought I’d post a couple of photos and give you the direct scoop.
Here’s roughly what I said at the event:

“Looking into the crystal ball a bit, there are two changes on the horizon that we’re really excited about and those are Muni WiFi which has the potential to bring ubiquitous WiFi coverage to urban centers and WiMax which has the potential to blanket the country in a high speed network that you can access at 60 miles per hour in the middle of nowhere. While these technologies aren’t here today, they are fast approaching — Sprint alone is making a billion dollar investment in WiMax services.
One of the most interesting startups in the bay area right now is a company called Zing. They’re building a really cool platform that enables WiFi connected media players. They’re the company behind the new WiFi-connected Sansa Connect media player.
Three weeks ago when we started preparing for tonight, I called the team at Zing and asked if they’d be willing to take the Pandora Everywhere Platform and work with us to quickly develop a technology demo of Pandora running on a WiFi connected device. Here we are three weeks later and I’ve got something very cool to show you.
This is a handmade prototype of a WiFi connect Pandora media player. I should caution at this point that this is a tech demo only — there are lots of things that need to fall into place before something like this could be brought to market, not the least of which is we need ubiquitous WiFi access.
The really cool things about this prototype is that it was just three weeks in the making. the Pandora Everywhere Platform is going to let us bring Pandora to all kinds of places that you just can’t reach with a website alone.”

Some important things to note about all of this:

  • It was just a technology demo; it really wasn’t a product announcement
  • It was built by Zing and Pandora – SanDisk wasn’t involved in any way
  • Pandora has no plans to bring a Pandora-specific device to market

I’m not being coy here. This isn’t a “wink-wink-nudge-nudge it was just a demo” kind of thing. It really was just a demo. We’re excited to find out where this may lead, but it’s still very early days. As I said last night, this all came together just 3 weeks ago. We’re certainly not desperately racing off to do direct battle with the iPod. As has been observed in other quarters, that would be a strategy to approach with great caution.
As cool as the Zing/Pandora demo is, the real news last night was Pandora for Sprint and Pandora for Sonos. Both are available now and are quite real.
device.png

Comments

  1. Brian
    May 23, 2007 at 3:22pm
    Have you looked into the Zune by Microsoft? I have one, and it would be awesome to have Pandora on my Zune. Just wondering if this has been suggested before, but you might want to make a phone call if you haven t already. *wink wink nudge nudge*
    Reply
  2. michael
    May 23, 2007 at 5:49pm
    While it is cool to be brining the expansion of distribution forward, there is going to be a point where you need to actually turn this into a business. With the increase in royalties coming down the pipe, WiFi by itself will not solve the problem. I personally have played with the Yahoo cousin of this demo unit. I am sure there are some differences under the hood, but in all it is the same device again. Given that Zing designed that one and now the Pandora one, it would seem to scream that Zune is not a direction that this is heading in, but a Yahoo merging. As the royalties climb higher and higher, the delivery mechanism is going to be just one small issue in the growth of internet music distribution.
    Reply
  3. OffBeatMammal
    May 23, 2007 at 10:51pm
    Even if it's not real right now.... it would be awesome to see MS integrate this into a Zune 2.0. Does it need an always-on connection, or could it work (like Slacker) with a trickle feed/sync process to buffer music ahead of time plus picking from a users pre-existing content on the device? I'd be happy to have a (few hours) buffer of content and sacrifice some instant tuning of the algorithm and repeats for something better than an iPod ;)
    Reply
  4. Nick
    May 24, 2007 at 2:14am
    I wonder: are these new developments a sign of quiet confidence that Pandora will continue and hopefully re-open internationally? Hope so!
    Reply
  5. Kletterartikel
    May 24, 2007 at 12:23pm
    Ver, very, very cool. The product is hot. Peter from Germany :-)
    Reply
  6. Bozo Clown
    May 24, 2007 at 12:56pm
    I'd pay a subscription for music on a device like this. If it could store a couple of hours of music for the commute that would be an added bonus (the licensing issues with storage would likely preclude this). Pandora needs to figure out how to drag the music radio concept kicking and screaming into the 21st century and a "transistor radio" like this would be a key element. Eventually the rights holders will understand that the game has changed and start playing by the new rules.
    Reply
  7. Roxxi
    May 24, 2007 at 1:12pm
    This doesn't have much to do with this blog entry but I'd just like to say that I've been with Pandora.com for a while now and I've loved it a lot. I'm really happy, too, to see a new layout. It's very well done and it have a great colour scheme. Anyway, thanks so much. You've made surfing the internet loads of fun. I've discovered a bunch of artists that I love and I always look forawrd to creating new stations! <3
    Reply
  8. Jeffro
    May 24, 2007 at 2:37pm
    I too would love to have the Pandora service available on my Zune. Before that happens though, you guys are right, their would need to be ubiquitous WiFi access across the country. My Zune playlist becomes pretty stale sometimes and I'd love to transfer my music stations from the website to my Zune.
    Reply
  9. John c
    May 24, 2007 at 9:36pm
    Any plans for s60 or symbian 9? We have wifi phones (n80, n95,etc). these also come with decent headphones, a media player, a fm radio and even a podcast app. The wifi works well too. In fact I'm posting from my n80 .
    Reply
  10. Parkingstones
    May 25, 2007 at 9:31am
    Wow. I always knew something like this was coming. And it will rock.
    Reply

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