Several rivals of Apple Computer Inc. plan digital music devices to work closely with their own online music services, just as Apple's iPods and iTunes do, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

RealNetworks Inc. on Monday plans to announce a deal with SanDisk Corp. to sell a digital music device that is designed to work with RealNetworks' online music service, Rhapsody, according to The Journal.

That move follows one by Microsoft Corp., which will release a digital music player this holiday season that will be coupled with its own online music service, the paper said.

Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. is working on a similar plan, the Journal reported.

The deals are an effort by Apple competitors to improve coordination between online song sellers and digital device makers.

Many consumers have been frustrated by hardware and software glitches when they try to download songs sold by one company onto a gadget made by another, the Journal reported.

The iTunes Store and iPods, by contrast, have long worked smoothly because they were both designed by one company, Apple, to operate together.