YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Money Tech

Cell Phone Meets MP3 to the Tune of $400

November 02, 2000|JON HEALEY |

Sprint PCS has jumped into the digital music arena, offering a mobile phone that doubles as an MP3 player. Too bad it can't tune in music wirelessly from the Internet, which might justify the Samsung Uproar's $400 price tag.

Instead, it can only play the songs loaded into its memory via a personal computer. That means the Uproar is just a phone with some special software and a lot of extra memory--64K worth, enough for about an hour of music.

Well, OK, the Uproar is a nice phone. Small, slender and light, it has a built-in Web browser that lets you arrange playlists online for downloading later, when your phone is parked next to your PC. But why use a cell phone with a postage-stamp-size screen to whip together a new playlist that you can't load until you're back at your computer?

John Yuzdepski, vice president of, said wireless MP3 streaming and downloading won't arrive until Sprint deploys its next-generation, high-capacity wireless network. That network is due in the first half of 2002.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 9, 2000 Home Edition Tech Times Part T Page 2 Financial Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Phone memory--An article in the Nov. 2 edition of Tech Times incorrectly reported the amount of memory in a mobile phone that plays MP3 music files. Samsung's Uproar phone includes 64 MB of memory.

And you won't be able to use the Uproar for high-capacity wireless services, which will require a different breed of handset.

So why buy the Uproar? The main reason is to combine two devices into one. Although $400 is a high price for a mobile phone, buying an MP3 player and a high-end cell phone separately could easily cost that much.

Still, Sprint plans to charge $10 per month for the My Music service after a free introductory period ends. The rationale is that Sprint, through its partner HitHive Inc. of Seattle, is providing a giant online storage vault to hold users' collections of digital music.

HitHive is working to make its service more appealing by trying to strike licensing deals with the record labels, enabling users to fill their vaults quickly and easily. Today, however, consumers have to send songs to their vaults from their personal computers, a painfully time-consuming process for those with dial-up modems.

Los Angeles Times Articles