A Different Kind of Digital: Motorola Garners Ink for 'Symphony' Concept

A Different Kind of Digital: Motorola Garners Ink for 'Symphony' Concept
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Motorola is winning plenty of ink from technology writers this week for its new radio chipset. But some observers think the "digital radio" markeplace could be more confusing as a result of the product launch.
This week the New York Times and Forbes.com have both reported on the concept, which Motorola showed to reporters during the recent NAB Radio Show. (Details about the system are in the Oct. 9 issue of Radio World.)
Motorola says its new radio chipset platform will make a radio sound better than analog and enlarge a station's coverage area. The company is calling its invention "a disruptive technology" that "raises the bar as to whether IBOC makes sense," said John Hansen, Motorola's director of marketing for driver information systems.
Motorola is offering the platform to its customers, particularly car makers, to get aftermarket Symphony Digital Radios to consumers by late next year and in-dash models ready for automakers in the same time frame for 2005 car models.
With consumers already being offered two satellite radio services, and with IBOC/HD Radio presumably about to be endorsed by the FCC, the Motorola announcement is something of a wild card. The Times article quotes a Yankee Group analyst as saying "Motorola could be suppressing the demand for true digital radio. The real key is how much they confuse the market and dilute the definition of digital radio."


'Digital' Is Different Globally

Outside this country, the Eureka-147 standard for digital audio broadcasting is in various stages of development, ranging from countries that have functioning systems in several cities, such as the United Kingdom and Canada, to countries that are expanding their offerings, as is France.