Japanese electronics giant Sony and telecoms operator KDDI will jointly develop mobile phones with music player features as competition heats up in the sector, a report said today.
Sony and KDDI, Japan’s No.2 telecoms operator, hope for a summer launch for the Walkman phones, which will include flash memory capable of storing about 500 songs, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said, without citing sources.
Users will be able to download songs via the Internet using KDDI’s system, as well as transfer music from other media such as CDs via personal computer, the business newspaper said.
The phones will be sold under both KDDI’s "au" and Sony’s Walkman brands, the Nihon Keizai said.
The reported move comes as Japan prepares to start allowing cell phone customers to keep the same phone numbers even if they switch their carrier.
Mobile phone service providers are stepping up their efforts to attract new customers and to maintain existing ones, before the new rule goes into effect this autumn.
Internet and telecoms firm Softbank Corp. is reportedly in talks with Apple Computer Inc. to develop an iPod phone.
In order to compete in a saturated market, cell phone service providers are offering more non-voice related features. In addition to music players, some firms are developing phones with Internet search functions.