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Slacker Bows G2 Internet Radio Portable

9/16/2008 03:51:00 PM Eastern

San Diego — Slacker will ship Oct. 1 to Best Buy and online retailers a new sleeker, smaller version of its portable Internet Radio device called the G2.

The G2 personal radio player let users listen to thousands of hours of stored Internet Rrdio and refreshes the music on the go via Wi-Fi or at home via a PC. In addition, the device has “favorite” and “ban” buttons that the user can press after each song played, so when refreshed, the Slacker service will automatically tailor songs to the user’s tastes. 

The G2 is 40 percent smaller than its predecessor that sold mainly online and through select stores such as J& R Music World, said a spokesman. The device has improved battery life of up to 15 hours and improved Wi-Fi and sound quality, he said.

FM modulator car kits are also available for the device for playback through the car’s sound system. Users can also plug the G2 into an auxiliary input jack available on some car radios.

The Slacker service offers millions of songs organized into 100 genre stations or more than 10,000 stations of various artist’s songs or user customizable stations.   It serves up the music with no monthly fees if users are willing to listen an occasional commercial. These air about once an hour for 30 seconds, said the company, although a premium service without commercials is available at $7.50/month.

The G2 comes in a 4MB version that stores up to 2,500 songs from up to 25 Internet radio stations, at $199, and an 8GB version with 4,000 songs from up to 40 stations, at $249. 

The service does not constantly seek out available Wi-Fi hot spots, as that would lessen battery life down to a few hours. But users can select to connect to a Wi-Fi spot when desired, if it is within range, said the company.

In addition to Best Buy, the G2 will be available at Amazon.com and Buy.com and may be offered through other retailers in the future.

The Slacker service has

agreements

with record labels including Sony BMG Music, EMI Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, as well as several independent labels.

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