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LG, SanDisk Create Mobile Content Protection

The content-protection technology lets carriers preload multimedia content on a handset and authenticate user credentials via data on the SIM card.




LG's Renoir offers the Smart Card Web Server technology.
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Handsets like Apple's iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Storm have shown that mobile users want to be able to view rich multimedia content on their handsets. But with the exception of Apple, handset manufacturers and the wireless carriers don't get much of the revenue from this content.

LG and SanDisk announced Wednesday a technology that enables handset manufacturers and wireless carriers to offer premium multimedia content that's preloaded on removable flash memory cards. The technology could be especially appealing for carriers because it enables them to restrict the accessibility of this content to only their network subscribers.

The Smart Card Web Server technology is a content-protection service that works by enabling the memory card to authenticate a user's credentials via data on the SIM card. SanDisk said the memory card serves as a network node that's remotely manageable by the operator. The companies said this technology has already been implemented in the multimedia-capable LG Renoir.

"With this advanced technology, handset manufacturers and mobile network operators will be able to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of consumers who want easy access to premium content on their mobile devices," said Amir Lehr, SanDisk's senior director of business development, in a statement.

The move shows the increased importance of multimedia content on cell phones and smartphones, and many companies are looking toward this as an additional revenue stream. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and Nokia already offer over-the-air music services, but the adoption rate is still not that high.

The content-protection technology may be music to the carriers' ears, but end users may not be that happy with it. Apple recently dropped digital rights management from its iTunes store, partly because some customers were turning to competitors due to the content protection.