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Internet radio moving toward mobile phones

A start-up dubbed Savos aims to link the fast-moving world of online music and Internet radio to wireless phones and handheld computers.

When the phone rings, it just might be the new Pearl Jam single calling.

That's the idea behind a start-up dubbed Savos, which aims to link the fast-moving world of online music and Internet radio to wireless phones and handheld computers like the Palm Pilot or Microsoft's Pocket PC.

Savos said today it had received $2.2 million in a first round of funding for its plans, with another larger round expected in the next two to three months.

Like other companies aiming at bringing anything beyond basic text over wireless connections, Savos is looking at a future market, not today's consumers. Most mobile phone and PDA connections are about a quarter the speed of dial-up modems, making anything beyond text difficult to download.

But faster connections are on their way with a new generation of cell phone technology slated to reach consumers over the next few years. That's where Savos, along with other ambitious content companies like Atom Films and even Microsoft, want to play.

The company's software allows all the major online streaming media technologies to send their content to a range of wireless devices. When it launches service in the second quarter of this year, the company largely will be focused on cell phones but will bring services to PDAs and other wireless devices in the future, executives said.

The technology builds on services from Tellme, Lucent, Quack.com and a growing number of others that allow voice access to Internet content such as stock quotes or movie listings over a telephone.