Sirius XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) is launching a few new retail products in conjunction with their Satellite Radio 2.0 launch. The company has not delivered new retail products in quite some time, so there is some excitement for SIRI investors relating to the prospects of a new product launch. The question is whether or not these new radio’s will be a game changer for Sirius XM?

The simple answer is that no, these new retail offerings, such as the Lynx will not change the dynamics of the satellite radio business. However, they do have capabilities that core satellite radio fans will be attracted to. If you have followed this site for any length of time you will be aware that while I am a fan and investor of satellite radio, I do not tend to blow smoke. I call things the way they are, not they way I wish they would be.

First things first. The lynx does offer a new form factor, and new operating system (based on Android). These should be welcomed changes for satellite radio fans. The downside is that the concept of the Lynx is not that far removed from the Sirius S50 that hit retail shelves about 5 years ago.

If you recall, the S50 was not a wearable satellite radio per-se. Instead, it recorded content for you, allowed you to “love” and save songs, and could be used as a sort of MP3 player. If you wanted satellite radio on the go, you had to purchase specialized headphones that included a satellite radio antenna. In a car or home dock the S50 was satellite capable because the dock was connected to an antenna.

This is how the new Lynx will work. If you are looking for it to deliver satellite content on the go (wearable), then you will be disappointed. Simply stated, the technology is not there to make a wearable satellite radio very viable at this point. It is one of the main reasons why I believe that we will not see a iPhone with satellite radio any time soon. Satellite radio is simply not conducive as a wearable device.

If I was a new consumer faced with a choice of The Sirius XM Lynx or an iPod Touch, I believe the choice to be quite simple. The iPod Touch is far more capable. An iPod Touch (utilizing Sirius XM’s SkyDock app) combined with a Skydock is a much more useful system than the Sirius XM Lynx. Further, the app can be updated to offer almost anything that the Lynx can do.

Lynx will feature:

  • Revolutionary SiriusXM PowerConnect™ FM Transmitter works through your vehicle’s radio with easy Do-It Yourself Installation. The color-coded Vehicle Dock makes it simple to connect.
  • Customize your display by choosing the backlight color theme that matches your mood or vehicle dash lights.
  • Personalize your radio by choosing the trim ring that reflects your taste or complements your vehicle interior.
  • View artist name, song title, and channel information on the large color display.
  • Browse programs, artists, and songs playing on other channels without having to change the channel.
  • One-Touch Jump™ to traffic and weather of the 20 most congested cities, or to the previous channel to which you
    were listening.
  • Save and enjoy fast access to your favorite channels.
  • Lock and unlock channels with easy-to-use parental controls.
  • Complete PowerConnect Vehicle Kit included.
  • Universal docking capability – add accessories for your home, office, additional vehicles or even outdoors.
  • Connectivity could be achieved via Satellite, WiFi, Bluetooth & USB.

The possible game changer with Sirius XM is not so much the new retail hardware, but rather the new capabilities offered by satellite radio 2.0. As long as Sirius XM makes these capabilities available through their apps on smartphones and iPods, I see many opting for an iPod/smartphone option over the Lynx.

For those that are already using retail hardware the lynx is a great upgrade, and can help invigorate a lackluster retail channel.

Position – Long Sirius XM