Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment.
The Slacker Portable picks up where last year's promising Sansa Connect left off. While that device was billed primarily as an MP3 player that boasted tight integration with the Yahoo! Music Unlimited service (now shuttering), the Slacker Portable is labeled as a "personal radio". MP3 files can be loaded onto the device, but that feature is more of an afterthought.
The device comes in three capacities that are billed as storing a different number of stations, which are either genres preset by the internet radio service available at slacker.com, or customized for the user based on a particular artist. One nice touch is that a device ordered from Slacker comes pre-populated with any stations you have set up on the site.