Omnifone Announces MusicStation Handset
AP Business Writer
Apple may have thrown down the first gauntlet with the iPhone but the UK's Omnifone is responding with what it claims will be the first handset with unlimited free music downloads wherever you are _ no computer necessary.
The first MusicStation Max handset will be offered by South Korea's LG and available in Europe and Asia-Pacific in the first half of the year, Omnifone CEO Rob Lewis told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona on Monday.
LG expects to roll out a series of cell phones with free access to Omnifone's full MusicStation catalog _ currently 1.6 million songs from the four major international music labels and hundreds of independents.
"We are the only party to have unlimited music downloads with all of the large music labels and we find ourselves very well positioned in terms of rolling this out," Lewis said.
The LG handset features a touchscreen plus a pullout keypad for users who prefer dialing. Music can be downloaded to the handset and to a home computer using different file formats that allow the sound quality and file size to be optimized.
A list of the user's tracks is retained so the user doesn't lose songs he has downloaded if he changes, loses or damages his handset.
In the MusicStation service unveiled in Europe last fall, users pay a fee to download, play and share unlimited music straight to the phone. Under the MusicStation Max business model, the labels and Omnifone will make money distributing the devices instead, Lewis said.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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