The Package Arrives: Sony Ericsson Confirms PlayNow Plus

Who says Nokia is the only one packaging music access into upcoming phones?

Sony Ericsson is up to the same tricks, and pushing its concept along a similar timeline.

Early this morning, Sony Ericsson confirmed a number of details related to its PlayNow Plus offering, slated for release during the fourth quarter.  The music-focused mobile manufacturer confirmed that Swedish carrier Telenor would be its first partner, and that other carriers would join during the first quarter of 2009.  That mirrors a release strategy by Nokia, which is planning to unleash its Comes With Music pre-packaged concept next month in the United Kingdom.  Nokia is planning an official unveiling ceremony October 2nd in London.

The Sony Ericsson service will be inaugurated with a modified W902 Walkman, according to the initial details. Powering the backed is Omnifone, a company that also handles pre-packaged mobile music offerings for Vodafone, Telenor, 3 Hong Kong, Vodacom, and LG.  Sony Ericsson would not disclose the total number of tracks involved, though it did point to the “largest music catalog of any unlimited download service,” a claim that probably means several million songs.  Sony Ericsson did confirm the participation of all four major labels, as well as thousands of independents, and pointed to over-the-air delivery capabilities.

Sony Ericsson also indicated that PlayNow Plus participants will be able to keep an undisclosed number of tracks, DRM-free, after their contracts end.  Songs will be accessible across a phone and PC, similar to the Comes With Music architecture.