The company annunced the portable DRM music player at the same time O2 started providing a wireless music download service based on the device. With the DRM Music Player, music files can be downloaded directly via a mobile phone. This will not be an exclusive O2 service though: Siemens says that negotiations are underway with several mobile providers in the US, South America and Europe.
To downloading compressed music (aacPlus format) to the DRM Music Player (DMP) the user needs a GPRS mobile phone connected to the DMP by cable or by infrared (still, no Bluetooth!) and the connection to the mobile service provider is established at the touch of a button. The Player (measuring 52 x 98 x 21 mm and weighing just 80 g) then displays the music titles on offer. It is possible to listen to extracts and save the music onto the player if desired.
Used to play songs protected by license, as well as standard MP3 pieces, the DMP is in fact a small PDA whose sole function is to download and play music via mobile phones. These can also be easily transferred from the computer to the Player via a USB interface. The music files are stored on a plug-in 64MB SD memory card which holds up to 60 songs at a time. The card can be used both in the DRM Music Player and in the PC. Audio files are compressed using MPEG-4 aacPlus.
The players uses Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology from Basle-based company SDC AG, which patented this DRM solution in the US and in Europe in 1996. SDC Java DRM technology is in use in both the internet and, with the introduction of the O2 Music service, now in the mobile market. It safeguards the licensing rights of music companies and singers, prevents the titles made exclusively available by the music companies from being copied without protection from the customer’s PC or DMP to other devices, and stops music files being transferred and played illegally on PCs.
Siemens Switzerland has joined forces with SDC AG and media specialist Yodoba/234 AG to form the “Music Over The Air Consortium” (MOC), offering a comprehensive end-to-end solution. From selecting the music and clarifying all legal aspects, through to compression, file hosting, protection against copying and the DRM Music Player, the mobile communications provider need have no worries.
The DRM Music Player, which works with all major makes of mobile phones, is known as a “White Label Device”. This means mobile providers can launch the Player as their own product and under their own brand. What is more, the DMP can be sold both with new cell phones and as an accessory to the installed base. At the same time mobile operators can make effective use of the powerful GPRS technology and move contents, which with the subsequent introduction of UMTS will be available in an even more comprehensive form.