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iTunes meets Sony's PSP

Small software maker builds bridge between Apple's music software and Sony's game machine.

A small California software maker has developed a program designed to bring at least part of Apple Computer's iTunes experience to the new Sony PlayStation Portable.

The software, the latest in Information Appliance Associates' series of PocketMac tools to link handheld devices with PCs and Apple computers, allows consumers to sync music from iTunes playlists directly onto the PSP's memory cards. The software also syncs the devices with Apple's iPhoto and address book and contacts databases.

The capability is unlikely to threaten Apple's iPod. The PSP is heavier, offers only rudimentary music-browsing capabilities, and Sony's Memory Stick storage doesn't rival the bigger iPods for capacity. But it could give dedicated gamers an extra jukebox and photo wallet in their pocket.

"What Mac owner would want a PSP?" Information Appliance Associates asks on its Web site. "Our answer is, all of them."

The software, despite being made by a third party, underscores Sony's ambitions to turn the PSP into a broadly used multimedia device, in part rivaling the iPod and the new Windows-based Portable Media Centers.

Though focused primarily on gaming, the PSP is being distributed in the United States with a full-length copy of "Spider-Man 2," and other studios have said they will release films on Sony's proprietary Universal Media Disc format. The devices also support MP3 music files and Sony's ATRAC format, which is sold in the company's online Connect music store.

The device does not support the music format distributed by Apple's iTunes store, however. That means that the new PocketMac software will only work with MP3 files, rather than songs purchased from Apple online.

The software is available for download on the PocketMac site, for an introductory price of $9.95.

Other developers are working on other extensions of the PSP's power, including a project aimed at bringing the Linux operating system to the device.