EMI and Napster have signed on as the first music companies to support Microsoft Corp.'s new Portable Media Center (PMC) in Europe, details of which were unveiled today (March 18) during the CeBIT tec

EMI and Napster have signed on as the first music companies to support Microsoft Corp.'s new Portable Media Center (PMC) in Europe, details of which were unveiled today (March 18) during the CeBIT technology show in Hanover, Germany.

EMI has agreed to allow its content to be distributed on the device in North America and Europe. Napster, which launches in Britain this summer, will be among the first companies to sell European licensed repertoire for distribution on the PMC.

The PMC -- originally unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in the United States -- is a handheld mobile device that can play music, videos, movies and TV broadcasts and can store digital photographs.

Similar in size to a pocket PC, with a 3.5-inch screen, the device uses Microsoft's Windows Mobile software. It has a 40GB storage capacity to hold up to 10,000 tracks, 175 hours of video content and 100,000 photos. A cable links multimedia content from the PC to the PMC.

The PMC will not be available to the public until summer. The device will be sold in Europe and Asia during the second half of 2004.

"This devices enables users to watch videos and take it with them; it's for people who want content that goes beyond just listening to the tracks," says James Bernard, the PMC's lead product manager.

Bernard expects more content deals for the international market to be announced shortly.

Consumer electronics manufacturers that include Sanyo Electric Co., Samsung Electronics, Creative Technology and iRiver International have agreed to produce the PMC for international distribution.