Motorola Unveils New iTunes Phone

Device stores eight hours of music.

Telecoms group Motorola said today (March 10) it is working on several mobile phones that are compatible with Apple's iTunes music service and some of which can store eight hours of songs.

One model, the E790, was initially scheduled for a European launch this summer, but that introduction has been delayed after discussions with operators, Motorola said at the fringes of CeBIT, the world's biggest electronics fair in Hanover.

The model is a surprise as it was originally planned ahead of the ROKR, an iTunes-compatible music phone which Motorola has not yet revealed. The ROKR is expected to be unveiled later this month at a music event in Florida.

Rival Sony Ericsson showed its first phone with a built-in Sony Walkman last week.

"Over the course of the year, you'll see more (iTunes) devices," said Alberto Moriondo, Motorola's global director of entertainment for mobile devices.

Major handset makers have started collaborating with online digital music stores. Sony Ericsson said its first Walkman phone will be on the market around August or September. Nokia, which said it will use Microsoft's music technology alongside other standards, has yet to unveil a dedicated music phone.

Motorola hopes to benefit from its association with Apple Computer. "The Walkman for the 21st century is the Apple brand," Moriondo said.

The fact that some iTunes phones can store eight hours of music or more is different from initial announcements last year that Motorola phones would only carry a small number of songs. Motorola's E790 handset will work on second-generation mobile networks, and not the faster, third-generation (3G) systems.

-- Reuters