China's largest appliance maker, Haier Group, is teaming up with a subsidiary of AOL to make a wireless media player that can stream or download content without hooking it up to a PC.
The product, which has yet to be named, was unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show and is set to be sold in the United States by the end of the second quarter.
It looks like a regular iPod but does what even the new iPhone doesn't — access online music and video stores over Wi-Fi networks to stream, download and play content without having to sync up with a computer.
"The PC really isn't needed to manage your media library," said Mike Wehrs, vice president of product management for AOL subsidiary Tegic Communications Inc. AOL is a division of Time Warner Inc.
The Haier/AOL player, which will come with 30 gigabytes of memory, is the second device unveiled at CES that has a wireless music download capability.
SanDisk Corp. showcased its Sansa Connect, a $249 gadget to sell in March that also detects Wi-Fi networks and allows one to stream Internet radio, search for songs, detect friends and send recommendations. The device will have 4 gigabytes of memory.
The Haier group is expected to announce content and network partners at either the GSM World Congress in February or CTIA Wireless show in March, Wehrs said.