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iPod-like accessory to boost mobile capacity

A device that looks like a next-generation iPod will be launched next year at consumers and enterprise users who need to carry and manage more digital information on their mobiles.

Agere Systems, a semiconductor and storage specialist, announced its BluOnyx Mobile Content Server this week – ostensibly a portable hard disk drive but with integrated processor capability.

According to the Agere, the BluOnyx is about the same size as a credit card and slightly thicker than a Motorola Razr. Users can put content on the device either via wifi, Bluetooth, SD card or USB and transfer it for viewing or playback on their mobile phones. Content can also be sent from the linked device to a TV or PC screen.

It can also back up music, video, photos as well as contact information and transfer the data to other handheld devices or mobiles, providing users with a central repository for mobile data.

The manufacturer plans to show the device off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and will sell the product to mobile manufacturers under their own brands.

The device is expected to retail at between $99 and $250 depending on its capacity. The BluOnyx is expected to start shipping towards the end of 2007.

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