updated 10:30 am EDT, Mon May 22, 2006
Walkman phone in Japan
Sony Ericsson and mobile carrier KDDI today announced plans to offer a Walkman mobile phone in Japan that will allow users to download music onto the handset, which will increase competition with Apple's iTunes service. While Sony Ericsson already touts a portable Walkman phone that plays music in the U.S., the forthcoming device will be the first of its kind to debut in the Japanese market, according to a report from the Associated Press. Japan lays claim to one of the world's most sophisticated mobile phone markets, and more than 90 percent of music downloads in the country are performed directly onto mobile phones. Officials from Sony Ericsson said the new handsets will ship with 1GB of built-in memory, and will offer up to 30 hours of continuous playback.
The Walkman phones in Japan will connect to KDDI's digital music store, called Listen Mobile Service (or Lismo) for downloading music. The handset will also download tracks directly onto the mobile phone in a separate KDDI service called "chaku-uta," which is already popular in Japan.
KDDI leads the Japanese market in mobile phones that download music, and 47 million songs have already been downloaded through the chaku-uta service, according to the report.