MP3.com, Qualcomm To Deliver Music To Cell Phones - InformationWeek

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MP3.com, Qualcomm To Deliver Music To Cell Phones

Coming sooner than you may have thought: music streamed to your cell phone. Under an agreement forged between MP3.com Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., an application for accessing MP3.com content will be among those offered as part of Qualcomm's new Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless. Brew will let wireless service providers offer a catalog of applications that subscribers can download to their Brew-enabled handsets, much as they might with their computers. MP3.com will provide the lone music application in the initial version of Brew.

The software, to be introduced in Asia this summer and in the United States by the end of the year, will increase wireless transmission bandwidth just enough for users to stream music from MP3.com. Initially, the service will be available to subscribers using phones produced by Samsung or Kyocera Wireless, and receiving service from a handful of carriers, most notably Verizon Wireless. Qualcomm VP Gina Lombardi says the company will add manufacturers and carriers as agreements are reached.

Lombardi says the decision to include a music application in its Brew rollout was easy given the tendency of wireless carriers to target younger users. "Music is one of those applications that will be most popular in the youth marketplace," she says. MP3.com VP Shawn Conahan says Qualcomm's new technology provides an ideal wireless channel for a company attempting to foster music listeners' ability to access their libraries from anywhere. "What we've essentially done is follow our own advice," Conahan says. He says the company will provide content and services unique to wireless users.

Gartner analyst P.J. McNealy isn't convinced there will be much demand for the music application among those using Brew-enabled phones. "I'm skeptical that anyone wants to listen to music on the phone," McNealy says. "There's no real association." Webnoize analyst Ric Dube says it's a good move by MP3.com, even if the sound quality is likely to be pretty spotty at first. "This is a first-generation product, but it's an important step forward."

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