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August 24, 2005

Moto's iTunes Phone Details Emerge

Courtesy of Mobile Pipeline

Even as the FCC has reportedly approved Motorola's much-discussed iTunes cell phone, details emerged this week about the device.

Numerous reports on enthusiast sites claim the FCC has approved the phone for use in the U.S. In addition, the user manual and other documentation for the phone were posted on the FCC's site.

According to the user manual, Motorola's E790 device for GSM cellular networks will have a VGA-quality camera, stereo speakers on both sides of the phone and Bluetooth support. It also will support the mini-SD flash storage format, according to the manual.

However, as expected, the lead feature in the manual's "Main Attractions" section is its iTunes support via built-in software. The mobile version of Apple's iTunes program enables users to download music acquired from iTunes from their desktop computers and to play the music on the phone.

However, while seemingly simple, that ability to download music from desktop computers may be the device's most controversial feature, making the future of the phone a question mark.

A number of cellular operators, including Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the U.S., have said they will launch music services for downloading music directly to phones. A Sprint executive indicated it would charge $2 a song, compared to $1 a song for iTunes. In addition, speculation is rife on the Web that subscribers to the Verizon and Sprint services won't be able to transfer music from their PCs to their phones.

However, rumors also have swirled for several months that Cingular is interested in the iTunes phone. Cingular uses GSM technology while Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology. Cingular has refused to comment on the possibility.

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