Cell Phone Plays MP3s

SAN FRANCISCO (05/23/2000) - Cell phone and MP3 player, together at last. LG Information & Communications Ltd. now offers a cell phone called the CyON MP3 that includes an MP3 decoder and a slot for SanDisk's removable MultiMediaCard for storing songs. But don't plan a trip to the superstore yet: This product is only available in Korea.

The CyON MP3 includes earphones with a built-in remote that lets you make calls, check call lists, and choose your music. You can download MP3 music to the phone, or you can insert a pre-recorded MultiMediaCard. An optional accessory lets you insert the unit between two external speakers, so you can listen to music while the telephone recharges, says Denny Koo, an LG product manager.

The CyON MP3 is shipping in Korea with SanDisk's 16MB MultiMediaCard (which holds about five songs), or a 32MB card (large enough for eight or nine songs).

Koo estimates the unit sells for the equivalent of about $350.

Bob Goligoski, SanDisk spokesperson, says in the United States individual 16MB MultiMediaCards sell for about $50 and 32MB cards sell for about $90.

SanDisk's cards currently appear in 78 different MP3 players around the world, he says. The company expects to see a growing number of cell phone companies including slots for its MultiMediaCard products in the near future.

In fact, Ericsson is developing an MP3 player add-on for its T28 phone, using SanDisk multimedia cards for storage. The add-on is expected to ship mid-year priced at under $500, Ericsson has said.

Don't expect to see the CyON MP3 in the United States anytime soon, Koo says.

Right now LG is concentrating on sales in Korea.

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