Sony Ericsson to further develop music service

PlayNow service, now offering ringtones, will expand, though group won't discuss specifics.

Sony Ericsson, the world's fourth-largest mobile phone maker, plans further to develop its PlayNow service, currently used for downloading ring tones, a spokesman for the Japanese-Swedish group said on Wednesday.

The spokesman, however, could not discuss the nature of the development or when it would happen.

"We are developing the PlayNow service further. It is part of our bigger music stragegy," said spokesman Aldo Liguri. The company is half owned by Sony and Ericsson.

Many phone makers have invested in online music downloading services, and handset makers see digital music as one of the key drivers for selling more expensive new phones, as they try to hold up their average selling prices despite surging demand for cheap phones on emerging markets.

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