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Delphi, XM Launch MyFi

New YORK – Delphi and XM Satellite Radio announced the MyFi, which will be the lead product of a new personal portable category to fall under the banner XM2Go.

Sirius currently offers a “personal” radio under the Xact brand, but said while that unit is intended for outdoor use, “it is not intended as a wearable,” according to a Sirius spokesman.

The new MyFi is also XM’s first satellite radio product to offer a five-hour music buffer to store and retrieve favorite songs. Similar in size to the Roady 2, the MyFi can fit in the palm of the hand. The device can also act as a plug-and-play receiver with a built-in FM modulator and a built-in antenna and will be bundled with both a home and car kit.

Delphi’s consumer electronics director Joe Damato said the new MyFi, at a cost of $350 including the home and car kits and portable accessories, is not positioned to compete against MP3 players such as the iPod.

“The people who use MP3 players have to work pretty hard in order to get content. You have to rip CDs to your computer, organize music files or make playlists and download that into your portable MP3 player. The people buying MyFi will be those that don’t have time to rip CDs. Seventy to 75 percent of XM subscribers are over the age of 30. The MP3 crowd is a younger user.”

The MyFi uses rechargeable batteries that will last about 5 hours on a single charge. Users can dock the MyFi in the home kit to recharge, and press the store button to record up to five hours of music (or it can be set to record up to 2.5 hours over two different channels). Or they can simply hit a button to record as they listen to XM.The next time the user records any programming, however, it will erase all items previously stored in memory.

According to Delphi, the MyFi indexes all the programming, which shows song titles, artists or the name of the track. Users can then scroll to find a particular artist or song.

Dan Murphy, XM’s senior VP product marketing and distribution, said, “I think you can expect more product offerings [under XM2Go] in the market in 2005.” He also noted, “We think this will create an entirely new exciting opportunity for the retailers and for the growth of satellite radio.” He explained that as the MyFi has a built-in transmitter and antenna, users can place it next to a clock radio or boombox and it will play XM through the clock radio or boombox speakers.

Delphi does not expect consumer resistance to the $350 price point, claiming, “When you look at the market share the SkyFi has had for a long time, even though there were more affordable plug-and-play receivers, it commanded a premium because a lot of people liked the design and utility better. I think this is going to really show retailers that they don’t have to promote only low-priced satellite radio to drive their business,” said Damato.

He would not offer the specific market share of the Delphi SkyFi but said that Delphi products overall (including the Roady) command a 65 percent share of all aftermarket satellite radio.

The MyFi will ship to retailers in November with “a pretty good distribution at some of the major retailers” by the week of Thanksgiving, Damato said, adding, “We’re offering it to all our retailers this fall. We have a lot of product coming in.”