The history of the Internet is littered with ideas that don’t quite gel, from the clunky consumerist nightmare known as boo.com to the Cuecat barcode scanner. But a Museum of Internet Failures would have to dedicate a special hall to the quest to create a stand-alone Internet radio, from the aptly-named Kerbango, a product of dot.com madness, all the way to current network streaming devices. Now Sanyo Canada is making a bid for the internet radio market (such as it is) with the imaginatively named Sanyo Internet Radio R227.
To be fair, the compact unit does boast decent specs, with the ability to integrate MP3 players, built in Wifi and Ethernet, support for multiple sound file formats, and a $219.99 price tag. It’s even set up to mimic a clock radio, so you can wake up to whatever station you’d like, rather than insipid local news. But the question has to be asked…why?
Part of the reason for Internet radio’s popularity is a gradual shift for much of the population from a world where media is consumed in discrete chunks at scheduled times to an always-on, hyper-connected society where we’re more likely to be in front of our laptops or accessing mobile devices than to need the presence of anything as old-fashioned as a radio. In fact, the $5.99 Tuner Internet Radio iPhone app does just as good a job as Sanyo’s stand alone radio, and it’s accessible on the go. Internet radios, like the quest for a 3d, game-like Web interface and video chat services like Seesmic seem like a solution in search of a problem.