Just last month, Sirius [NASDAQ:SIRI] Satellite Radio submitted its Starmate 5, a personal satellite radio player, to the FCC. Its rival, XM [NASDAQ:XMSR], seems poised to respond in kind. Codenamed “Phoenix,” XM’s personal player is reportedly smaller than Pioneer’s existing XM player, the Inno, with a larger screen and slicker, updated interface. Manipulation of that interface is achieved via a rotating wheel input not unlike the iPod or SkyFi 2 players; other details include a microSD slot for MP3 tunes and the possibility for WiFi support. Though the unit should be available in the US by fall, there are no rumors yet of exact screen size, battery life, or price point.
XM may have its work cut out for it by opposing the Starmate 5, which will give users the ability to rewind and pause live radio up to 44 minutes into the past, and reportedly can play XM radio as well as Sirius’s own stations. However, by taking design cues from the Inno, XM could win on aesthetics and appeal; early shots of the Starmate 5 show a clunkily-designed gizmo that sports a wide screen, but looks more like a detachable car stereo faceplate than an iPod or iRiver.CD