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Handhelds to play satellite radio, digital books

XM Satellite Radio and Audible are developing devices that will play the former's radio shows and the latter's content from the Web.

    Handheld devices that can play both satellite radio and content downloaded from the Web are set to debut next year.

    The devices--the expected product of a deal announced Tuesday between Audible and XM Satellite Radio--will play XM's radio programs and Audible's digital content, such as audio books and magazines, that can be downloaded from the Internet.

    Currently, Audible's content can be downloaded and played on computers, MP3 players such as Apple Computer's iPod, and personal digital assistants.

    Audible will also starting offering XM talk programs such as "The Bob Edwards Show" and "Opie and Anthony" on its Web site later this year. In turn, the satellite radio service will broadcast a program containing features, interviews and news focusing on audio books and other spoken-word products from Audible.

    Audible has recently signed content deals to expand the market for its audio products, while XM has also been actively looking for new partners, such as wireless carriers, to move beyond its primary market of car radios.

    "Together our respective technologies will enable the consumer to listen to the finest in radio programming and the best of personalized, spoken-word listening on their portable audio devices," Donald Katz, CEO of Audible, said in a statement.