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PacketVideo pockets $100 million

The wireless streaming-video company is $100 million richer after getting a round of funding from companies including phone makers Kyocera, Motorola and Siemens.

Wireless streaming-video company PacketVideo is $100 million richer Monday after getting a round of funding from companies including phone makers Kyocera, Motorola and Siemens.

Other companies that took part in PacketVideo's fifth round of funding were Qualcomm, Softbank Technology Group, Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments, according to a company spokesman. PacketVideo provides streaming video technology for handheld and other wireless devices, one of the cornerstone applications linked to next-generation, or 3G, phones.

Gartner Dataquest wireless analyst Bryan Prohm said PacketVideo's newest investors are not a surprise.

"It bodes well for Packet," he said. "There are no guarantees that end users will use it, but it's a positive indicator that their products will get to market."

There is much debate about when, or if, 3G will appear anytime soon. Qualcomm, for instance, says its 3G high-speed service is already launched in South Korea. Others, like NTT DoCoMo, say it's coming to Japan by the end of May, although most analysts don't believe it will be much of an appearance.

But European providers, expected to be among the first to offer the higher-speed services, continue to delay their 3G plans. And even the mighty NTT DoCoMo is said to be having troubles with its 3G deployment.

Existence of 3G networks and 3G-capable phones is significant for PacketVideo, since the increased bandwidth of the new wireless technology will likely facilitate uses such as video. Without 3G, PacketVideo could find it hard to find takers for its software technology.

The latest funding is the second positive happening for PacketVideo in the last few weeks.

The company just received a patent on decoding software that "maximizes battery life," an essential selling point for any technology at the whims of batteries and power packs, said Mark Banham, PacketVideo's director of engineering for core technologies.