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Japanese trio unveil MP3-on-cellphone system

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Why take a separate mobile phone and MP3 player into the shower, when you can have both together in one device? Fujitsu, Hitachi and Sanyo have developed a Flash card system to allow cellphones to play digital music tracks downloaded from the Net. Secure Multimedia Card (MMC) is essentially a rival to Matsushita, Toshiba and SanDisk's Secure Digital Memory Card, and Sony's Memory Stick, all designed to store digital music that can't be subsequently copied. It uses Fujitsu's UDAC-MB (Universal Distribution with Access Control -- Media Base) content delivery and protection system, which can support any compression scheme, including MP3. Sanyo's contribution is to manufacture phones that support the cards, while Hitachi will produce Secure MMC units. Sanyo's handsets will contain music download software which grabs not only the music files themselves but, separately, the decryption keys, which are then stored in the Secure MMC's Tamper-Resistant Module (TRM) area. "Eighty-eight percent of young people in their 20s have portable phones and 70 to 80 percent of them also have portable audio players [in Japan]. So we thought there could be a way to enjoy music [over the phone]," said Fusao Terada, Sanyo's R&D boss, according to EE Times. None of the participant companies would say when their Ketai de Music ('Music on Your Mobile Phone') service and products would be launched. For now they are touting the technology to Japanese content providers and network services. ®

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