e.Digital and Sony Join at the Digital Hip

Last week, e.Digital announced a licensing agreement to incorporate Sony's ATRAC3 sound-compression technology into e.Digital's portable Internet music-player designs. e.Digital claims that its multi-codec platform, including ATRAC3 support, can be incorporated into a variety of products including portable digital music players, home and automotive stereos, and functionally enhanced wireless phones.

Last month, Sony had announced that they were collaborating with Sonic Solutions to integrate Sony's ATRAC3 into iMaster, Sonic's suite of tools for the preparation of compressed audio for Internet distribution (see previous report). Sony's Yutaka Nakagawa suggests that the e.Digital deal "furthers the penetration of ATRAC3 in the Internet music market. This project is mutually productive, and we are pleased to be working with e.Digital to promote further growth in the Internet music industry."

According to e.Digital's Fred Falk, "Sony's ATRAC3 is gaining support from a number of companies in the industry, including online music providers. e.Digital's designs for portable Internet music players will now be able to play ATRAC3-encoded files in real time without transcoding. We will work together with Sony and other partners to build players with the maximum sound quality and compression, and to promote secure, SDMI-capable designs that support music content from the major record labels."

e.Digital says its Internet audio-player platform provides a broad range of functionality, enabled by their MicroOS file management system. The company adds that it intends to also provide a quick time-to-market for manufacturers, licensees, or private-labelers interested in marketing devices capable of playing music downloaded from the Internet.