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Ericsson Unveils Mini MP3

Swedish telco giant Ericsson demonstrated the first MP3 player designed for use with a mobile phone Thursday at the CeBIT conference in Germany.

Dubbed MP3 Handsfree, it is one of the smallest MP3 players on the market and lets users listen to near CD-quality audio through headphones between calls. Ericsson (ERICY) also demonstrated a plug-in FM radio for mobile phones, which will be on the market mid 2000.

Incoming calls are channeled through both earpieces and the cord features a microphone to speak into and a button to answer calls with. When a person receives an incoming call while he or she is listening to music, the sound from the player will automatically be muted. The MP3 Handsfree is completely controlled and powered by the mobile phone -- no extra batteries or space consuming buttons or display.

The Ericsson MP3 Handsfree comes with a multimedia card on which consumers may store approximately 30 minutes of music and stereo earphones with portable handsfree functionality.

Ericsson didn't stop with the mini MP3. The company also unveiled a new version of the Chatboard, a snap-on keyboard which now also works with Ericsson's three-volt phones, such as T28 and R320. When used with the mobile phone, Chatboard makes rapid messaging over SMS and e-mail possible, as well as editing a personal site on the Internet.