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Sony, Intel harmonize for mobile music

The music arm of the Japanese company will work with the chipmaker on creating applications to play Sony music and videos at PC quality on portable devices.

Sony Music Entertainment is mobilizing itself for the portable device market through a deal with chipmaker Intel.

The two companies announced Thursday that they will work together to adapt Sony's lineup of music, images, videos and other content for portable devices that use Intel chips.

At first, the partners will concentrate on tailoring Sony's digital music and video content so that it plays back at PC quality on portable devices such as cell phones and handhelds, according to Intel. Later, they plan to develop PC-based multimedia content.

"With the advancement of phones and their capabilities, this is a natural time to be meeting with content makers to improve the playback of their content on devices," said Jeff Krisa, a director of market development at Intel.

Content owners have been apprehensive about giving people easy access to music and other media because of the threat of illegal copying and distribution. For their part, device makers think that offering better content is crucial to making their products stand out from those of rivals.

Efforts to make Sony-owned music and videos easily accessible on Sony electronics products have even stalled within the company itself--over concerns that the move will sacrifice content revenue for the sake of hardware revenue.

Through the partnership, the chipmaker is aiming to attract mobile device manufacturers to its chips and memory, while Sony is hoping to lure wireless carriers with its content. Their work will also reduce the time it takes for mobile device makers to get products to market, according to Intel. It could also give carriers another way to persuade people to sign up for their services and generate revenue for them, Intel said.

The applications Intel and Sony developed will be available on hardware from carriers and device makers early next year, according to Intel representatives.

The chipmaker is also working with other content makers to improve game playing and the playback of video and audio files, they added.