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No Recession for Internet Radio

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Internet radios certainly made the hot topic list at this year's CES held last week in Las Vegas. Everyone was talking about new devices that allow listeners to stream their favorite station. Lots of companies introduced new streaming devices: Philips, Acoustic Research, RCA/Audiovox, and VTECH. Chumby's tiny Internet radio/alarm clock was even featured as part of Sony Chairman Howard Stringer's keynote address. Sony will produce a next generation Dream Machine alarm clock in partnership with Chumby. According to sources including the blog Paid Content, Stringer said that in two years, 90% of Sony devices will have connectivity.

In addition to streaming table top and stereo devices, Blaupunkt and miRoamer made news and a few "best of show" lists with an announcement of an in-dash Internet car radio, gaining kudos from industry blog Venture Beat and Popular Mechanics award for innovation. Mobile streaming platform Flycast was featured by PC World as one of the best products at the show as well.

Thanks to Internet radio, technology and electronics are taking a second glance at radio. During his speech, Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro said Radio is deeply ingrained in the U.S. culture. "Radio in the 1930s lifted the economy out of the Great Depression," he said. People listened to news and entertainment and drew hope and inspiration from the broadcasts. Today, radio continues to play an important role in the consumer electronics industry, which generated $1 trillion in economic activity globally last year, Shapiro said.

I'm not sure if Internet radio will lift the economy out of our current misery, but it sure is looking more and more like it might be one of the few bright spots in 2009 and that's a very good prospect.

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