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Motorola Expands Cellphone Music Capabilities

Schaumburg, Ill. — Consumers will be able to store music from a planned Internet radio service onto select Motorola cellphones, listen to the music through stereo headphones, and beam the music to a Bluetooth-equipped car stereo system.

Motorola will launch the subscription service, dubbed iRadio, in the first quarter with more than 500 Motorola-created channels and possibly with additional content supplied by existing Internet streaming services, a spokesman said. Simultaneously, Motorola will launch a Java iRadio application for its Java-capable memory-card-equipped cellphones and a software application for broadband-equipped PCs.

The service will cost from $5.99 to $6.99 per month, and revenue will be shared between Motorola and cellular carriers.

iRadio will work like this:

A PC’s iRadio software won’t time-shift live streams like a VCR, but it will download a music playlist, which will change as often as daily, from up to six user-selected iRadio channels. The content will be transferred directly to a USB-connected cellphone. The music won’t be stored on the PC’s HDD, nor could it be played back through the PC’s speakers. Consumers, however, will be able to listen to the stored programming through the phones’ stereo headphones or through a car stereo system equipped with a planned Bluetooth adapter.

The downloaded music is playable only once, erasing itself from the phones’ memory as it plays, a spokesman said. A consumer’s personal music files, however, can be transferred from the PC’s HDD to the phone and played for an unlimited number of times.

By synchronizing content to a mobile phone, iRadio users can begin listening to a song at home, continue listening on the phone as they leave the house, and pump up the volume in the car, Motorola said.

The iRadio service requires a small adapter, the RCKT, which attaches to the back of an existing car stereo through CD-changer inputs or through satellite-radio inputs. Motorola will offer OEM and after-market car stereo adapters for 80 percent of U.S. car models manufactured since the 2000 model year at a price of $50 to $75.

“Content producers benefit from iRadio because it preserves Internet radio streams for a fixed amount of time, keeping commercial music and audio programs properly protected,” a Motorola spokeswoman said. Recently, Universal Music became the first music label to endorse the service, making its entire music catalog available to Motorola’s iRadio service.

iRadio service “can securely deliver a customized choice of radio stations right to the fans of virtually any artist,” said Mike Gaumond, iRadio VP/general manager. “With the world’s largest music label on board, iRadio is well on its way to revolutionizing the radio listening experience.”

For its radio service, Motorola is using a proprietary compressed-audio codec and digital-rights management (DRM) technology. Motorola’s codec enables 70 hours of music to be stored on a 4GB memory card.

The software will also transfer MP3 and wave files to select phones and protected WMA files to Windows Mobile smartphones and Windows Mobile PocketPC phones. The software could potentially transfer protected iTunes songs to the ROKR iTunes phone, a spokesman added.