[ larger photo ]
It is a "Well
Connected" writer's dream... Hearing a great song on the radio and
simply pressing the button on a fashionable Internet-connected key fob to
identify it. No need to listen for title and artist at the end of the song,
or attempting to sing a few bars to the pink-haired weirdo at the record
store hoping he'll recognize the tune. Sony's eMarker is designed to do
just that. Mark the name and artist of a song -as you listen to it- in less
than one second.
Although the eMarker does
not immediately identify the song, once you return home you dock the device
to your computer and a desktop browser window is launched to display the
list of songs you have marked. Using the browser, you can listen to a
sample of the song to confirm eMarker's identification or purchase the
music. But the eMarker works best with just one radio station and
everything isn't quite as it appears when first using the product.
The out-of-box experience is considerably less than we've come to expect
from Sony. The eMarker does not ship with desktop connection software,
instead requiring that you connect to the eMarker.com web site and download
it yourself. The good news is that the rest of the installation is
pain-free. Sony includes the coin battery necessary to power the unit for a
reported 6 months of normal use and thankfully, the eMarker is a USB
In fact, both the docking
station and the eMarker device itself uses USB, so you can leave the
docking station at home and simply plug the eMarker directly into your PC
when at work or traveling with a laptop. This feature alone makes the
eMarker a brilliantly designed product and returns Sony to our good graces.
And let's be honest... The
device costs less than $20. At this price, anyone who prides themselves as
a gadget junkie or music aficionado can afford to splurge and try it out
for a week. If you decide it isn't for you, just give it as a gift to any
one of the many people that will say "Wow, what the hell is
Extremely low price for a
product that has "SONY" printed on it, excellent use of USB technology
and interesting combination of music and Internet technology.
Works with limited radio
stations, works best with the radio station you select as your "primary
station" and required a download of the software.
(Note: Before purchasing
the eMarker, be sure to
check for coverage in your area, and to make sure that the eMarker
works with your favorite radio stations. To get the best possible service,
make sure that your favorite stations are prefixed with double asterisks,
which indicates that the eMarker site downloads music information from the
station every 10 minutes).
Sony Pulled the plug on this product and the eMarker
service and web site are no longer available.