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Japanese mobile comms co. moots MP3-by-cellphone kit

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Japanese cellphone flavour of the month NTT DoCoMo has begun touting a wireless digital music distribution system to consumer electronics companies. Details of the scheme are scarce -- Nikkei Electronics' report was basic to say the least -- but it appears the mobile phone company has developed a reference platform for receiving digital music beamed to the customer using the IMT-2000 protocol operating over Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) next-generation cellphone link. It's not hard to imagine a hi-fi system with a built-in cellular transceiver capable of pulling down Offspring's latest single via a WAP-enabled Web site. W-CDMA is capable of data throughput speeds of around 110kbps, not unfeasible for grabbing MP3 tracks on a regular basis. Last week, Japanese CE manufacturer Kenwood announced a hi-fi system with a built-in modem for Web access and a hook into a satellite receiver to perform the actual downloads. Other CE companies, including Sony, are looking at broadband satellite access, but DoCoMo's alternative certainly seems the neater of the two. Not only is it a two-way link (which is why Kenwood has the modem), but it doesn't require the extra satellite reception hardware. Incidentally, it also ties in nicely with cellphone developer Ericcson's MP3 player module, which plugs into your phone and communicates with a pair of headphones using a Bluetooth link. DoCoMo said vendors have until the end of the year to decide whether they want in on the project. ®

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