Motorola Previews iTunes Phone

Updated: A company executive offers a glimpse of a mobile phone that syncs and plays iTunes songs like the iPod.

LAS VEGAS—A Motorola executive on Thursday previewed an upcoming mobile phone that can play music from Apple Computer Inc.s iTunes store.

Speaking during a keynote at the International Consumer Electronics Show here, the executive demonstrated a phone that in many ways mimics the iPod.

The phone syncs with a computer and the iTunes Music Store like an iPod does, and incorporates an iPod-like interface for navigating and playing digital music, said Ron Garriques, a Motorola executive vice president.

But a Motorola representative clarified on Friday that the phone shown during the keynote was not the actual iTunes phone that is slated for release this year. Instead, it was a Motorola E398 equipped with the iTunes functionality for the demonstration.

The upcoming phone is the first of many Motorola devices that will support iTunes this year, said Garriques, also president of Motorolas personal devices business. He didnt provide product details for the phone or say when it would be available.

Still, the demo at CES bolsters rumors that an iTunes-compatible Motorola phone would be launched this month, possibly at the Macworld Conference & Expo that opens next week in San Francisco. Last month, an Apple executive revealed that the phone was due in the first half of 2005.

In July, Motorola announced a licensing deal with Apple to use iTunes in its phones.

Garriques cited the Apple partnership as an example of Motorolas push into what he called "seamless mobility 2.0."

While mobile devices already are allowing consumers to communicate multiple ways and to take digital media with them, the next-generation products will bridge gaps between networks and devices so consumers can access their digital content anywhere and without interruptions.

"Youll know we hit 2.0 when the Internet is no longer visible … and the PC is a peripheral," Garriques said.

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