November 8, 2004 18:51 | Technology / WebTech

Mobile Internet Radio

This afternoon an acquaintance sic'ed a local journalist on me for my opinion on digital/satellite radio. She also mentioned Internet radio and how I currently use it.

My first thought went to those silly "Internet stations" listen in iTunes and other desktop MP3 players. "Hrm, never use those."

Oh wait! I DO use though. And recently I have been listing to their Profile radio streams ALOT. It's great cause the selection is basically made based on what I listen to and what people like me listen to. I also can listen to individual friends' "playlist radio broadcasts" (called "Personal Radio" on The real value-add here is that the selection is contextualized: "This is what you friend so-and-so is listening to", or "this is what people who seem to share your tastes are listening to".

Anyways, the journalist's focus was really on "would you buy one of these XM radio boxes so you can listen to satellite radio in your car?" To which I essentially answered "hell no! why would I? To listen more of the same commercial crap programmed by some unknown DJ somewhere who is more than likely on the record company payroll?!"

Or, more to the point, "No, why would I? I can use my mobile device here to listen to my friend's radio streams via the Internet!"

Wishful thinking. While the Opera browser happily downloaded the M3U stream file, my P900 had no idea what to do with it. I.e.: I have no music player on my Symbian phone that can play M3U.

So, there are a few opportunities here:

  1. 3rd party software developer builds in M3U (streaming MP3) support into a Symbian (or other mobile platform) application.
  2. whips up such a client, which would be great cause they could also build a whole API and the client could also interact with their network, not just play the songs.
  3. Somone like Nokia comes in and does both, and markets it as "built in mobile internet radio" (hint hint)

I have some ideas tangential to this to further contextualize/editorialize the selections. But that is for select ears only...


Well, its already mid 2006, the phone companies have still not come up with an internet radio software that doesn't cost more to listen than your internet connection ! Nokia has Visual Radio, but it requires Service Provider implementation (money, money !)

there is hope from nokia: their s60 internetradio opensource project

works fine on my n80


Thank you Bastian!
Also, good news, Nokia is shipping devices with WiFi access now, so the "data-plan lockout" isn't an issue as much. :D

As Bastian mentioned, we at S60 have released some Internet Radio code that could be used for this. We have had a similar discussion about applications on our S60 Multimedia blog:

Just came across this site by accident, and I had to mention this:
John, Visual Radio is just a addon to the normal radion in Nokia phones. It does not implement any internet radio functionality, and as such is a pretty useless application. :)

VirtualRadio is an Internet radio player for mobile phones with the Symbian operating system (Nokia S60 phones, Sony Ericsson UIQ phones etc.).

It works fine and has about 700 radio stations integrated. Its latest version is freeware!

For more, check http://www.vradio. org/ (for direct download just type into your phone's browser).