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EDITORIAL: Microsoft needs to reconsider its 3GPP support for Windows Mobile
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 31.07.07 - 12:11:32 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 16453x
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Just another thought I came across while I was in vacation last week. I think Microsoft definitely needs to rethink it's media file support. I understand that Microsoft wants to push WMx (WMA for audio and WMV for video) and MP3 is just supported because it's the defacto standard anyway. But we have another defacto standard (in the mobile industry) which is 3GP (a MPEG-4 based media format) from the 3GPP (the 3rd Generation Partner Project) which is the industry standard for video MMS but also the standard for UMTS video streaming. And no, I'm not just talking about YouTube here but watch the carrier portals, they all offer videos in 3GP format as well as we see more and more independent video content popping-up in 3GP since mostly every 3G phone (except Windows Mobiles) supports 3GP as the video streaming file format.

Not sure what's *the* evening news in the US or the UK but in Germany it's "Tagesschau" which recently started a 100 seconds version (updated hourly) as "Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden" which is streamed as a 3GP file which makes sense since it's the standard for UMTS devices. And while I can watch it with my 3G devices (as a stream), I cannot stream it with most of my Windows Mobile devices because 3GP is an unrecognized and widely unsupported file format (outside the MMS client).

Thankfully Samsung (and some other manufactures) implemented 3GP support (and Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden is also offered as a 3GP file download) but in most cases it's supported as local playback only, not as a stream. Same with DW-TV and other services (not to talk about carrier specific services). Sure, HTC is ahead again added a 3GP streaming player to their latest devices (which lets you also stream YouTube on your Windows Mobile device) but it's not part of the standard Windows Media Player Mobile and such extra implementations splits the overall situation into 3GPP compliant and non-compliant devices which makes it hard for a user to understand if he can either use a service or not. Non Windows Mobile UMTS device users can mostly trust that more or less all services are working with their device.

Again, I understand why Microsoft has less interest in supporting competitive services (another one is MMS) but to compete with 3G phones from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, Microsoft better add a minimum support of 3GPP standard features which includes a native MMS client, 3GP video support (local playback and streaming) and OTA configuration (w/o using Exchange).

Cheers ~ Arne


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