XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc next week is expected to unveil a "wearable" device, marking the satellite radio industry leader's latest effort to woo audiences to the nascent format, analysts said.
A spokesman for Washington, D.C.-based XM declined to comment beyond saying a major product announcement was planned for Oct. 26 in New York with automotive parts and consumer electronics products maker, Delphi Corp.
"XMSR is also likely to announce its wearable device next week. There is a good shot this 'Walkman' type device, in the near term, will differentiate XM's hardware from Sirius," a rival satellite radio system, said Kit Spring, analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus in a note for investors.
He said such a device would "also get investors thinking about future combinations of IPOD/TIVO-like satellite radios, which would increase the value of the monthly subscription."
A radio industry executive said the device was believed to be a satellite-radio receiver with headphones that also had a hard drive enabling users to download XM content.
Spring could not be immediately reached for comment.
Delphi has already partnered with XM for such products as the XM SKYFi satellite radio. Since introducing it in 2002, the company has shipped over 750,000 of the portable units.
XM rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc has said it expects to roll out wearable products in late summer 2005.
The new "wearable device" by XM could bolster increasing investor sentiment about the business prospects for satellite radio, although some analysts cautioned that both rivals are investing heavily in a bid to attract a mass audience.
Earlier this month, Sirius reached a five-year, $500 million deal with shock jock Howard Stern to bring his popular program to the company's line-up in a bid to narrow the gap with XM.
XM responded this week by signing a $650 million deal to broadcast Major League Baseball games for 11 years.
XM Satellite has about 2.5 million subscribers. Sirius' subscriber base has exceeded 700,000 and the company said it remains on track for 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.