Sony Ericsson eyes further development for PlayNow service

Handset giant Sony Ericsson plans to further develop its PlayNow service, currently being used for downloading ring tones, a spokesman for the Japanese-Swedish group was quoted in a Reuters report as saying.

The report, however, said the executive could not say what kind of "further development" Sony Ericsson was planning or when it would happen.

"We are developing the PlayNow service further, it is part of our bigger music strategy," said spokesman Aldo Liguri.

The Reuters report said many phone makers had invested in online music downloading services, and handset makers saw digital music as one of the key drivers for selling more expensive new phones, as they tried to hold up their average selling prices despite surging demand for cheap phones on emerging markets.

Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, said at the start of August that it was buying US-based digital music distributor Loudeye for $60 million.

Sony Ericsson's current PlayNow facility allowed users to hear a clip of a ring tone and then purchase if they liked it, the Reuters report further said.