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RealNetworks unveils Pocket PC player

Inks Compaq deal

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

RealNetworks Inc yesterday released a version of its RealOne Player for Microsoft Corp's Pocket PC operating system, and said Compaq Computer Corp will be the first OEM to ship a device with the software bundled.

Ian Freed, general manager of media systems at RealNetworks, said how the software is shipped - preinstalled or on an accompanying CD - depends on the device, and is Compaq's decision.

"At the very least, it will be on the CD," he said. He added that the deal encompasses multiple future iPAQ-brand PDAs, but declined to reveal how long the deal will last. "We see the benefit of being bundled with other providers," he said, declining to comment on other potential OEM deals.

Freed said the Pocket PC RealOne will also be made available for download from the RealNetworks web site. The software works on all the Pocket PC-based PDAs the company has tested it on (including those from Toshiba and Audiovox), though when used on the handful of monochrome Pocket PCs available on the market, RealOne will be audio-only, Freed said.

RealNetworks' strategy is to have its client software available on as many platforms as possible. The company announced a Symbian OS version of RealOne in January, and followed through with bundling deals with Nokia Corp for forthcoming 9200-series Communicator phones.

The company has not yet announced support for Microsoft's Pocket PC Phone Edition or Smartphone platforms, though such a port is feasible. Freed said it depends on the uptake of such devices - none of which are currently available - among buyers.

"There's nothing to stop us doing it," he said. "Our goal is to get on the devices that are going to be predominant on the market."

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