By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
XM Satellite Radio has begun a test trial of its satellite radio service in 15 to 20 states, according to the company. Teams of employees and third party "partners" have been equipped with XM-ready products including cassette adapters, FM modulated adapters and head units with built-in receivers, to test the service and programming.
Retailers are also involved in the test marketing, and are evaluating the installation and activation processes. Participating retailers include "one or two national retailers and local retailers," said XM VP of retail marketing and OEM distribution Dan Murphy, who confirmed that XM service is still on track to begin in late summer.
Sirius Satellite Radio, which pushed back its launch until the fourth quarter, due in part to delays in the receiver chipset market, said the market will see limited availability of Sirius car radios this November, with "2002 being the big consumer launch for us," a spokeswoman said. When asked if the timetable places Sirius at a disadvantage she noted, "If XM is out at the end of September, two months is really a non-issue when you are launching a new category. Consumers will start to get educated about the category and people will get excited about it. That work has to be done and XM will do it for a couple of months before us. Then we'll launch our service in the fourth quarter accompanied by a huge brand campaign," she said.
XM also promises "a great launch plan," Murphy said.
Alpine and Pioneer are shipping XM ready products and Sony will offer XM products by late summer. Kenwood is already shipping Sirius ready receivers and Clarion said it will have product by the first quarter.
Jensen is aiming at a December launch to limited accounts of its SSR-2000 Sirius control unit which will interface with any radio to add Sirius reception. The unit can operate via auxiliary input jacks or as an FM modulator. In the first quarter of 2002, Jensen will add the SR 4510 AM/FM/CD with built in Sirius reception.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.