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2/14/2005
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Sony Ericsson To Launch Walkman Phone

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications will take the 25-year-old Walkman into uncharted territory by launching a Walkman-branded mobile phone by mid-year.

CANNES, France — Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications will take the 25-year-old Walkman into uncharted territory by launching a Walkman-branded mobile phone by mid-year.

Sony Ericsson President Miles Flintsaid said the new music phone will have sufficient storage for six to ten CDs, a USB port to transfer music from a PC, music browsing and support for open standards, including MP3 and AAC audio formats and OMA's Digital Rights Management (DRM) 2.0.

The device, scheduled for introduction in early March, will take advantage of Sony's " history and heritage," said Flint. "We intend to bring to a market a complete consumer music option," he added.

The new music phone will offer downloadable and streaming music through Sony's online music service called "Connect." While Sony's music service has been criticized for promoting Sony's proprietary ATRAC (adaptive transform acoustic coding) format, the new mobile phone will be based on "open music standards," according to Flint.

Rikko Sakaguchi, senior vice president of Sony Ericsson, noted that the AAC format is the same used in Apple's iPod. He said the format will allow consumers who have already "ripped," or copied music tracks from CDs, in the AAC format for the iPod to reuse them on the new Sony Ericsson music phone. The company said it will introduce its music phone in early March.

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