NEC has developed software that can quickly compress audio data at a flexible rate, the company said Friday. This new development will allow mobile-phone users to exchange high-quality audio data, it said. The Tokyo company hopes to commercialize the technology this year, NEC spokesman Seiji Sakai said. It compresses audio up to six times faster than competing technologies, Sakai said. It takes 15 seconds to compress five minutes of music using a PC, he said. The software uses a simple processing method, and so requires low power. NEC expects the technology to be used for online music-downloading services and for cell phones, allowing for wireless audio-data exchanges, Sakai said. Data compressed by the software is compatible with MPEG 4 for replay. "We have developed software that allows MPEG 4 to compress audio data faster for higher quality," Sakai said. Users can set a different compression rate for different purposes, depending on whether their priority is storage space or sound quality. The software can compress data to one-three hundred fiftieth the size at the smallest, or one-fifteenth the size for CD-quality audio, Sakai said.