wifi-logoEverywhere you go, you see WiFi.  WiFi hot spots have been a computer staple for years, but only recently have consumers begun to see a need for it in other devices.  Yes, even satellite radio has incorporated WiFi into devices for quite some time.  However,  WiFi carries the most importance in gadgets with crossover potential.  Such devices include iPods and smart phones.

Free Wifi is no longer limited to a few small coffee shops.  Bars, restaurants, hotels, and even airports have begun jumping on the free WiFi band wagon.  Here in Orlando, the local McDonalds even offers free WiFi!  For consumers this means more access and portability.  For satellite radio fans, this means consumers can now have even more access to great music and talk shows in more places.  This is especially the case now that the iPnone and iPod Touch application is out.

As a staunch satellite radio fan, I will be the first to admit that my WiFi equipped Stiletto tends to stay in my car.  Simply stated, I do not use it much in portable mode, and carrying it around is means that I have another gadget to worry about.  Frankly, it can be a pain to carry around.  Thus, even if I were to find a WiFi  hot spot, I would most likely not have my Stiletto with me.  You will however see that my iPod touch and Blackberry are never too far out of reach.  The reason is that these devices are multi-functional.

The new iPhone app takes things to a new level.  I own an iPod Touch.  Because of the multi-functionality of it, it stays with me.  My iPod goes from my house to my car, to my office, and back again.  If I were an iPhone user, the value of the device would be even greater.  A cell phone is a cell phone.  It is the apps, that give smart phones the popularity they have.  By having an app on iTunes, Sirius XM Radio has taken the step of becoming  a part of a device that is so much more for consumers than simply Sirius XM.  This is a good thing.

Now consider the new SkyDock and that value is even greater.  Consumers will get the best that satellite radio offers as well as the great content of the Sirius XM Internet radio service.  Suddenly your device is your iPod, your phone, and your satellite radio.  We all know that there are plenty of iPhones sold.  The other key is the WiFi capable iPod Touches.  WiFi has become a major factor.  Most people have WiFi in their home and many have it in their office.  Now we are seeing it pop up in many other places.  This means that consumers with equipment that receives WiFi will have even more chances to put their WiFi capable devices to use.

It was only a couple of years ago that getting WiFi at anyplace other than Starbucks was a virtual impossibility.  Everyone loved WiFi, but it had simply not been rolled out to a degree that was meaningful.  Now, smaller devices are WiFi capable, and businesses everywhere see the value in allowing the ever busy consumer to access to the information they seek.

WiFi will continue to spread, and multi-function devices that are capable of utilizing it will gain popularity.  A cell phone is now a consumer staple.  Satellite radio is not.  Getting satellite radio onto cell phones is the key to growth in the retail channel in satellite radio.  Mel Karmazin has already announced that the company wants to move in this direction.  Watch for the growth of Sirius XM Internet radio to become a key component going forward.

The iPhone App is complete.  Next are devices such as Palm’s Pre, and the Google Phone.  Stay Tuned.

Spencer Osborne has stock in Sirius XM Radio