CES 2010: Slacker 3.0 Arriving Soon With Support For Canada Included

By Garz on 11 Jan 2010 01:08 pm EST

While attending CES 2010 we took the time to get an up close and personal look at the new Slacker 3.0. Many new changes have come to Slacker Radio with the latest version, as you can see from the video above, 3.0 includes a revamped interface, better caching implementation as it can now be done wirelessly and has also laid claim to better overall battery life while using the updated release.

We are also glad to say now that the new Slacker will be arriving in Canada as early as this week (so we were told). Yes, you read that right - Slacker will be available in Canada (finally!) with the 3.0 release. The only word of a release date announcement at CES was that Slacker 3.0 is coming as soon as Wednesday or Thursday for Canada, and it should be another week or two before it hits the US.

Canadian users will get a 30 free trial with premium accounts starting at $4.99 a month or $3.99/month USD for a full year paid up subscription. Also, there will be a 14 day trial on caching for the US version on 3.0, but you will need to upgrade to a premium account to keep that feature active. Check out some screenshots after the jump.

[ Video Court. Of @nanpalmero / BBCool ]








Reader comments

CES 2010: Slacker 3.0 Arriving Soon With Support For Canada Included


The free caching was the perk Slacker had over Pandora. Not sure if that is a wise change for Slacker.

I was hoping I misread that line but caching is now going premium? That is the PRIMARY reason why I chose Slacker over Pandora. Terrible move.

This was a concern that I voiced when Garz and I met with Slacker. Things aren't 100% certain for now, but it looks like if you decide to stick with Slacker 2.0 you will still be able to cache for free. However, if you choose to upgrade, caching will now only be an option on the Plus accounts.

The people at Slacker are listening to customers, and do read these blogs. Voice your opinion, and it will be heard, but remember, there is a cost associated with everything, and I think for the outstanding service Slacker provides, the Plus account fee is very minimal and well worth every penny.

I saw this the other day on another BB news blog and was hoping they had it wrong on the caching also. But alas it appears the main reason I switched to slacker will become a premium service now. I guess I will have to stay with version 2.0 since I may go a few weeks before I fire up ol' slacker and it is always when I don't have a data connection. Would be nice to be able to do wifi updating though. Oh well.....

Auto-Refresh looks like a great addition! I am already a premium subscriber, but it kinda sucks for all those who are not that can no longer cache stations.... But if you are on the fence about paying for a premium subscription, I can tell you that it has been totally worth it for me, I canceled my XM service, and paid one time to Slacker for about $50 for the year.

Congrats to you Canadian folks who can finally get Slacker!

When I read this article, I thought I already had all those features, so I looked at the version of Slacker I was running on my Storm 2 -- 3.0.319! I have had it for about a month. Sometimes I just go to the Slacker site and hit download and see if they have an update. I did this about a month ago and got the 3.0 version. Now I see that if I do the same thing, it will give me 2.0. Maybe I just got lucky. It runs very well and updating can be set to be done automatically at night. Very cool.

Why oh why make the caching feature now premium and no longer free....that reason alone won't make me upgrade

The Canada thing seems pretty cool finally, but I think I will stick to Grooveshark for $3/mo. :)

WOW! Awesome phone! How do you get you S2 to look like that? I wanna make mine look better. (Im in UK so cant use slacker)

I think its a simple skin. Just google storm 2 skin and you will get a bunch of companies that make them. Its basically just a sticker that protects your berry. Ive seen a couple cool ones.

Understanding there is a cost inolved with everything, I would much rather have a few more commercials in the cached stations than pay for the premium service. That said, if we are forced to upgrade and lose the cached option as a free user, I will be moving from Slacker. I absolutely love Slacker at the moment and am happy to listen to the commercials and support their sponsors.

Pandora offers more for free if they take away caching. Kind of a cheap move to get more subscribers...maybe move song skips down to 5, or offer more subscription promotions? Or a 10 second ad between every 3 songs instead of some bio on a Slacker artist?

from Canada. Was able to download Slacker 2.0.91 but when trying to listen I get "Slacker radio is not available in your region"

Longtime slacker user and hoping the 3.0 upgrade will bring stereo BT control (AVRCP profile) to the app. Pandora can do it, but I much prefer slacker overall. Having the ability to advance/pause/play, etc the slacker app via my stereo BT headset(s) would be the icing on the cake.


I know that some of you voiced concerns about a having to upgrade to take advantage of all options. Sometimes when improvements are made, it may cost more to do business. You still get the regualer service for free. We cant always expect everything for free and Slacker does need to cover the operating costs of the new features. I have been using the beta of this new version and it will be worth every penny! Congrats to Canada for you getting it in a couple of days!

How can people bitch about $3 a month? You pay over $100 for cell service. This application is worth it, and surprised that more people don't pay for it.

if your paying 100 bucks u must be on AT&T. lol my bill is way less than half that. stop getting ripped off. Move to pandora like i just did after watching that video.

No, I have Verizon. I pay $100 a month for 2 phones. Either way, this free mentality has to stop. They provide a service. XM/Sirius charges $13 a month for crap service. $50 a year comes out to $4 a month. That could also support a child in a 3rd world country. I will choose music over that child.

It is definitely Slacker's right to make caching premium, but it is also unethical (since it was free before). I won't be upgrading and I will use Pandora exclusively; I encourage others to do the same.

From what i remember reading last week: with premium accounts you will be able to refresh your cached stations wirelessly (wifi/data), non premium accounts would be able to cache stations normally by connecting to your computer

If that's true @radiobuck, then I'll understand it and it's a fair way to try and get more people to buy upgrades. Although it takes long enough to sync on my PC, adding wirelessly must take all day!

@mav - It's actually $5 a month, and there are a ton of monthly services out there that really add up (phone, home phone, internet, TV, etc) and people won't find it worth it to pay $48/year for something they had always gotten for free.

I think they said it would re-cache the stations only when you plugged it in and were charging. I am assuming they would be doing that, because it does take a long time to cache and that way it wouldn't kill your battery.

Like a lot of others have already said it will disappoint me if caching is moved to premium. The sole reason I use Slaker instead of Pandora is the caching feature. Guess I'll start checking out Pandora and get used to using that.

I've been using v3.0.320 for a little over a month now and have to say it's definitely a huge improvement. It runs much smoother and doesn't seem as buggy as 2.0. The caching feature allows you to manually cache your stations and also has a wireless (Wi-Fi or OTA) auto refresh option that will update "overnight" when connected to power. I'm not sure what time it considers "overnight" to be (I have that option turned off) but I haven't found any way to chose a specific time, which would be nice. Caching one station took me about an hour OTA. A couple other options, that I don't remember having before, are the ability to always keep the display on while connected to power, resume playing on startup and share stations via email, SMS, Twitter, etc. As far as I know, the Bluetooth is still audio streaming only and does not use the AVRCP profile.

I wonder if the sound quality will be improved. That is actually the feature that keeps me from using it today. If you compare Pandora and Slacker the sound quality of the songs on Pandora is far better than that of Slacker. I would even pay the premium fee if it meant better sounding songs.

I live in an area where caching offers me a chance to enjoy uninterupted music (internet signal is a little weak for streaming). Both my wife and myself enjoy Slacker and choose it over Pandora because of the caching option. If I switch to two premium accounts Im looking at $96 or $120 a year. I really like Slacker, just not sure I could justify spending that amount when we only use Slacker a couple days a week. We will probably have to go back to downloading music files onto the Blackberry but we will sure miss Slacker.

If Slacker insists on a pay to cache version would some type of family pricing plan be considered? One charge to cover more than one family phone.

Part of the reason I enjoyed Sirius was because of the live channels....had to drop it however due to the cost. Even though we really love Slacker I am not sure that we could or would pay to use the caching service.

Does anybody know where you can get the phone case he has? Or similar products that cover around the screen and phone?

I say good for Slacker for charging for their great service. Hands down as in the above posts, we all use Slacker over Pandora because of the caching option. After all the company's invested time, money, man power to make these improvements, why would they not charge a little fee for this great service. Not everything in life is free.There is always using your cd player,MP3, Regular radio if you don't want to pay for Slacker. you have options so stop thinking the world owes you something for free already. I personally will pay the fee and be happy to do so for the pure pleasure of a quality product I enjoy and love.

Slacker sucks and I made the switch to Pandora using my bb 9700. Hopefully once 3.0 drops I will try it out again. If not, I'm headed RIGHT back to Pandora.