RealNetworks to Launch Pocket PC Player

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RealNetworks to Launch Pocket PC Player By Lucas van Grinsven HANOVER, Germany (Reuters) – RealNetworks said on Tuesday it plans to launch a version of its RealOne media player that will run on arch rival Microsoft’s pocket PC. “That issue (a RealOne player for Microsoft Pocket PC 2002) we will address very soon. At a mobile show, CTIA, next week in Orlando Florida, I think you will see some announcements from us,” Chief Executive Rob Glaser told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the CeBIT electronics show here. Seattle-based RealNetworks is expanding into new areas, such as powerful mobile phones and portable computers, from its base in personal computers (PCs), where it has been battling for dominance against Microsoft for many years. Microsoft offers its own media player (a program that allows video and audio clips to be played over your PC) as part of its operating system Windows XP. Glaser declined to comment on the possibility of his company following Sun Microsystems and filing a lawsuit against Microsoft for bundling its media player with Windows, which sits on 90 percent of PCs. Glaser did say RealNetworks will announce video and audio content partners for a subscription service for mobile devices early next month in London. The service will be similar to the subscription content service for which it has signed up half a million customers in the U.S., offering sport and entertainment to PCs. Finland’s Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone maker, on Tuesday launched a series of new phones, some of which have a RealOne Player pre-installed. The phones, such as the Communicator and a Camera Phone that will be out in the second quarter, can play video images that are “streamed” at data-rates beginning at 20 kilobits per second. This speed can be achieved over the current second generation of mobile networks. Higher data rates are needed to play action video, such as sports. These faster speeds are offered by third generation networks, which will be introduced in Europe later this year. Partnering with the world’s largest cellphone maker Nokia, which makes almost four out of five phones in the world, is part of RealNetworks’ goal to get a pole position in this emerging area, Glaser said. RealNetworks has already partnered with several chip makers, which agreed to integrate RealOne Player software in semiconductors for cellphones. Intel and Texas Instruments have both signed deals with RealNetworks. However, the chip makers also recently signed deals with Microsoft to offer semiconductors and a full set of mobile phone software for any electronics producer to make a “smart” phone. Nokia executive vice president for Mobile Phones Anssi Vanjoki and RealNetworks’ Glaser both underlined that the RealOne Player and Server software would be compatible with the open standard MPEG4. MPEG4 is yet another media encoding and decoding technology, specifically designed for mobile devices. MPEG4 support is crucial to Nokia, which is leading an open architecture alliance in the mobile phone industry.

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