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Other smart phones are people too, says ex-Apple team

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A team of former Apple engineers are promising to bring TV-like simplicity and some iPhone touches to the task of finding and consuming media on any smart phone.

Their company, Kinoma, is today launching a smart media browser and player - Kinoma Play - to search video, photos, music, radio and podcasts on your phone and online, and to consolidate them behind a single interface. Kinoma Play 1.0 lets you create playlists and slideshows, find RSS feeds and zoom and rotate pictures and video on any smart phone.

The company claims it can bring these features to devices with different hardware and operating systems as Kinoma Play - a native C application - runs in an abstraction layer.

Kinoma Play 1.0 is for Windows Mobile 5.0 and higher, but co-founder and chief executive Peter Hoddie told The Reg during a demo the browser also runs on Symbian, Linux and the iPhone - although it's "not great yet".

Support for a second platform is due by the end of the year. Hoddie would not say what that platform will be, but noted: "We really like Linux - the OEMs are using Linux under the covers. It works beautifully there."

Linux would certainly have more to offer for Kinoma than Windows: Linux accounts for about 19 per cent of the smart-phone market versus around five per cent for Windows, according to various figures. Linux is expected to outsell Windows by 2013. Symbian, of course, remains the market leader.

In the meantime, though, there remain millions of Windows-powered smart phones sold and still in circulation. Kinoma 1.0 is available for these as a 2MB download.

Hoddie, who demo'd the player on a Samsung Blackjack and Spring Treo, has a background in supporting different platforms: he led the Apple engineering team that made Apple's QuickTime a cross-platform player. With Kinoma, Hoddie went on to hire some of those who'd worked on the iPhone.

"If you are going to buy an iPhone you buy an iPhone," Hoddie said of the Kinoma Player. "But there are also people who will never buy an iPhone. They have something that's already interesting and they want to do something their browser can't."

He has a point. And, while the same handset manufacturers that sat on their fat backsides for years without offering anything substantially new are now touting the touchability and screen size of new phones, some are coming up short on usability and integrated features. ®

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