Yes, that's a double-negative in the headline. In other words Uncle Walt, the leader of all tech writers, isn't necessarily against the Slacker Portable, but he's also not in love with it... yet.
Walt Mossberg (who yelled the infamous words, "I don't give a fuck about your stock price!" at XM's former CEO Hugh Panero a few years back) overall seemed to find the Slacker service/player intriguing. His biggest problem - granted, it was a prototype he was playing with - was the bugs that need to be worked out of the player.
"The two prototype Slacker units I tried, however, were hobbled by bugs and glitches that the company must expunge by the release date, which was originally slated to be this month. For instance, the players sometimes failed to wake up after going to sleep, requiring a reboot. The touch strip was unreliable. One player failed several times to connect to my account. Battery life is well below Slacker’s goal of 12 hours between charges. The company says it is aware of these problems, and pledges all will be fixed."
Which explains why the Slacker Portable player has been delayed. Still Mossberg seems to like what he sees so far, but his hope for the service itself is that the ads aren't too annoying.
One interesting thing to note: he compared the Slacker service to Rhapsody and of course to Sirius and XM:
"And both the Sirius and XM satellite-radio networks offer portable players for listening to their stations, although the stations can’t be customized."
I think that's an important distinction. Slacker is meant for consumers who have no desire to program entire playlists of music - but it still has an easy way to customize the music you're listening to.
Satellite Radio on the other hand has absolutely no interactivity. There is a growing desire by consumers to increase control over their media experiences. Sirius and XM need to come up with solution for this, to create the feeling of interaction and control, because the influence of this trend in consumers' thinking is significant and real. I'm not sure how, I just know what, needs to be done to adapt for future trends.
But I digress.
Watch Mossberg's quickie video review below...