How the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on today's edition, Vodafone selected RealNetworks as its solution vendor to distribute multimedia over cell phones:
Vodafone Group PLC, which owns all or part of 28 cellular service companies, said it will use RealNetworks' server software to distribute multimedia material over cellular phones. Vodafone also said it will specify RealNetworks' RealOne Player for handsets made for its companies.
Ian Freed, vice president of RealNetworks' mobile products and services, wouldn't provide the cash value of the deal but called it "a huge, huge win for our company." He said RealNetworks beat 8 other companies, including archrival Microsoft Corp., in landing the contract.
"This jump-starts RealNetworks from having a few percentage points of the cellular industry to having about 21 percent," said Rick Doherty, research director for The Envisioneering Group Corp., Seaford, N.Y. "It is a tipping point for the cellular industry and for RealNetworks."
That's a pretty interesting development as we can expect also to see RealOne player soon integrated into Vodafone live! terminals which indicates me that Vodafone is going more and more its own way to develop and build smart handsets which might become a real impact for the whole industry.
As I know typical handset vendors like Nokia (as well as others; Nokia is just the super typical example here ;-) and shouldn't be an offense), they are not willing to customize handsets that much like carriers might want to get it today.
In fact the future handset market and competitors will be much more diversified than today's market.
As we have today the typical terminal vendors like Nokia, SonyEricsson, Motorola and Siemens in future we will have:
- Traditional terminal vendors
- Carriers who work with ODMs (mostly from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) on its own branded and developed terminals
- ODMs who take their knowledge to develop devices independently from carriers as well
- OEMs like Dell and HP who enters new markets segments
- Software developers like Microsoft, Palm and Symbian who might cooperate with traditional terminal vendors as well as with Carriers/ODMs and OEMs.
That's an interesting development and the winner(s) aren't foreseeable today.
BTW: If Vodafone is going to stream multimedia content to its terminals, they also shouldn't forget to optimize today's GPRS plans for that kind of services. With today's prices for GPRS transmissions, nobody will use it... ;-)
Cheers ~ Arne
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