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Symbian has signed a deal with Real Networks which could see the latter become a ubiquitious bundle item on Symbian's smartphones.

The development work will be carried out by Real Networks, Symbian's marketing communications chief Paul Cockerton told us today. Several smaller names have already shown off media players for the platform, including Packet Video's PVPlayer and the Emblaze (formerly GEO) Wireless Player, and ActiveSky's player is under development. But Symbian says it isn't picking winners.

"There are some things we bundle as part of the platform, such as Java, but a media player isn't one of them," said Cockerton.

Symbian co-founder Nokia already bundles the Real Player with the forthcoming 9210, but the deal sees the other Symbian shareholders - Ericsson, Panasonic and Motorola and the Symbian licensees including Siemens, Sony, Sanyo and Kenwood - have access to Real's player and rights management platform without having to negotiate their own deals.

And it's an even better deal for Real which continues to be in the Top 7,658 enemies list at Redmond, according to documents leaked from the recent AOL-MS discussions show. Aggressive bundling could see it pull ahead in the numbers war with Windows Media Player, which only runs on Microsoft's demoware Stinger platform. ®

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