Will Subscribers Pay Data Charges for Streaming Multimedia?
By Eric Lin, Sat Dec 13 00:45:00 GMT 2003

SmartData, a Swiss company that specializes in Bluetooth applications, have developed a device to stream high quality audio to your stereo or home theatre using Bluetooth and your mobile's GPRS connection.

The Zukero Z3 (PDF) is small dongle with a 3.5 mm stereo jack and a Bluetooth transmitter. When you plug the device into an stero input jack and turn it on, it looks for a Bluetooth phone and loads an application on the handset. Users can then choose the type of programming they would like to stream from their mobile and listen through their home audio setup.

SmartData expect to launch Zukero (maybe they'll change the name first?) in Spring 2004. When it's available they expect to have streams of pop music, audio books, and other music or spoken word clips.

On Pocket PC Thoughts, one of the authors has a defense for doing absurdly impractical things: "Y?BIC" or "Why? Because I can." Is there any other rationale for a product like the Zukero? The Zukero requires an appliance (stereo, TV, etc) with an audio in jack. These are not portable device, but large scale home electronics. Since the physical interface restricts users to home or office situations, why would users to pay for streaming content over GPRS when they could probably use an internet connection to access a wider variety of content for less money?

Is the Zukero doomed to fail or is there real value for a device like this?