In June 2007, Tivoli Audio unveiled two Wi-Fi radios at a Manhattan event: the Tivoli Audio NetWorks tabletop radio and the portable NetWorks Go (pictured above). Both models were said to offer identical functionality: the capability to tune in any MP3, WMA, or RealAudio Internet radio station, network audio sources (PC-based digital music collections), and standard over-the-air FM radio. And it wasn't just vaporware, either: company founder and CEO Tom DeVesto used the prototype to quickly pull up two distant stations based on requests from the audience. Unfortunately, neither product was released. The fall 2007 release window came and went, and it wasn't until February that a brief notice on Tivoli's Web site officially rescheduled the release date to June 2008.
However, it looks as if later this week we'll be getting updates on these products. The company's annual New York City media event is Wednesday, May 7, and the invitation prods attendees to arrive promptly "since Tom DeVesto, Tivoli CEO, will be unveiling the first global audio product at the start of the event to allow for plenty of time to experience it, ask questions and get first-hand knowledge." Public relations hyperbole notwithstanding, it's a safe bet that the event will indeed be the relaunch of the NetWorks Wi-Fi radios--though this time, we should be getting final specifications, pricing, and an imminent release date.
We love the idea of a small, easy-to-use Wi-Fi radio--especially one that's truly portable. The question is, will Tivoli's solution be too little too late? We've seen plenty of other Wi-Fi radios in the past year, with the price on many models dipping less than $200. Price issues are particularly thorny for Tivoli: we've noticed its prices--which already include a Bose-like premium--actually creeping upward in recent months. That's a tough sell to increasingly cash-strapped consumers who are accustomed to falling prices for their consumer tech.
We'll have full coverage of the Tivoli announcement--whatever it may be--on Wednesday. In the meantime: do you have any interest in a standalone Internet radio, or do you just fire up your Web browser when you want to listen to online audio?
Read: Coming this fall: Two new Tivoli Wi-Fi radios (CNET Crave)
Read: Wi-Fi radio roundup (CNET Reviews)
Read: Tivoli flashes back to 2002, unveils Internet-radio products (Dvice.com)