AT a tree-trimming party at his Chicago co-op apartment, Eric Spanitz supplied seasonal music, a mix of Bing Crosby and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which issued from a certain well-known compact portable electronic device – a mobile phone.
About a year ago Mr. Spanitz, a professor of management at Lake Forest University in Illinois and a business consultant, finally decided to buy a phone and a music player, but he didn’t want to carry two devices. Instead he bought a Sony- Ericsson W800i Walkman phone that combines both.
“I use it more often than I expected,” he said of the music function, with which he listens to tunes on plane trips and in his hotel room, and even uses his selection of 60s rock, jazz, classical and German electronica to serve as a D.J. at impromptu gatherings. “The constant reaction is, ‘Where are you hiding the speakers? That sound can’t come from the phone,’ ” he said.
Speculation that Apple Computer will announce a combination iPod and phone at the Macworld convention in San Francisco next month has fueled interest among people who, like Mr. Spanitz, don’t want to carry multiple devices – even though most phones already have multimedia players that handle music.