Listening To Your Own Music
Mercora M running on a Samsung SGH i600
Mercora's latest streaming audio service is called M and has a lot going for it but suffers something of an identity crisis. It sits squarely between narrowcast music, such as might be found on XM or Sirius satellite radio, and competitors from Rhapsody, AOL Radio and Yahoo. The idea is that you subscribe to the service for $50 a year and can listen to whatever music channels you want, along with your own MP3s, wherever you are.
M is actually two pieces of software - one runs on a full blown Windows XP desktop that has a broadband Internet connection, the other runs on a Smartphone running either Windows Mobile 5.0 or Windows Mobile 2003 SE. You'll also need an unlimited broadband data plan with your phone to make use of this service. We tested it on a Motorola Q phone with Verizon's EVDO service.
The EVDO service worked reasonably well as long as I was standing still. In a moving car traveling around Manhattan the phone would drop service and the music died. And the Motorola Q phone quickly got very warm as it played my music, which I found disconcerting to say the least.
The Mercora M main menu on a Motorola Q
The two pieces of software work together and are required if you want access to your entire desktop music library on your phone. The music files remain on your desktop and are "broadcast" or streamed to your phone across the Internet. This means your PC with the music library must remain powered on and connected to the Internet when you roam away from home. It is a clever hack, and a way of getting around the legal problems with copying music, since the actual files remain on your hard drive.
The Mercora M icon after the product is installed