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Software Preview: Visual Radio on Nokia Phones

May 22, 2006 in Mobile Phone Software

Visual Radio is just one of those things that I find myself sputtering out from time to time with each new Nokia cell phone released. The problem is, I (and you too probably) don’t know a single thing about Visual Radio. What the heck is it?

Find out more in the full entry.

To put it simply, Visual Radio is just another tactic by the radio/music industry to get customers to spend more money. And as a side benefit it can also generate a lot of money for the phone carriers (Tmobile, Cingular, etc).

Visual Radio works with the integrated FM (AM has not been implemented in any phones yet) radio in your Nokia cell phone to display related information (say about the artist currently playing, or an ad, or something else) while the radio is in use. So you could be listening to The Killers and have, say, a picture of the album cover on the screen with information on the group and a link to buy the album. Sounds cool, right?

The downside is the information being transmitted to your Nokia cell phone goes through your wireless internet and therefore uses your monthly data allotment. And we all know how quickly wireless internet fees add up..

Another caveat is Visual Radio isn’t available everywhere. So far it’s good to go in the USA, Finland, Germany, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK. However, other than KISS FM in the USA, I’m not sure what other radio stations support the application (Visual Radio requires a special server set up by the radio station). Not to mention that Visual Radio is only available for select cell phones. (however, almost every new Nokia phone has it integrated)

On the flip side, Visual Radio also allows for more of a “interactive experience.” Sure, you’ll be hit with a lot more ads, but you’ll also be able to vote for what songs to play, rate artists and new music, and chat with other listeners. It’s definitely more interesting than the car radio.

To learn more about Visual Radio, check out the Visual Radio demo here.

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