Last Monday, Kenji Hall and I wrote about reports in Japan that Apple and Softbank were planning an iPod phone for release later this year. If it happens, it seems they will have to catch up Sony. Today, KDDI announced that its AU mobile unit is planning to launch a Sony Ericsson Walkman-branded mobile handset in late June. The phone will have 1GB of flash memory, a battery life of 30 hours from a single charge and, according to press reports, are expected to retail for about $190. Just as with a 4GB handset already on sale by Toshiba, the KDDI/Sony phones will also be able to download tracks from PCs or direct to handsets over KDDI's 3G network using the carrier's Chaka Uta Full and LISMO services. All of which is great news for Japan's mobile phone users or at least the ones, like me, who like the idea a single device for music and phone calls. It'll be interesting to see how (or if) Softbank and Apple respond.
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