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Real, Motorola mobilize media with Linux

RealOne Player streaming media software will be incorporated into Linux-based Motorola phones--another step forward in bringing the open-source OS to wireless devices.

RealNetworks scored a deal under which its RealOne Player streaming media software will be incorporated into Linux-based phones built by Motorola.

The companies said Wednesday that the phones, which will let people access both audio and video content using RealNetworks applications, will become available sometime during the first half of 2004.

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The partnership represents another step forward in bringing Linux, an open-source operating system, to wireless devices. RealNetworks has increasingly expanded its Linux-related efforts. The company announced earlier this year that it will release the source code of its audio and video player to run on the operating system. The company previously released the source code for its Helix video and audio compression technology and Helix DNA media servers, which support many file formats including MPEG-4 and Windows Media.

Motorola said that the Helix client source code will help it bring the mobile handsets to market through the network of developers working with the software, dubbed the Helix Community. The group is a collaborative effort among RealNetworks, independent developers and other vendors to build new applications for Helix DNA, open-source technology for streaming media.

Motorola also has been heavily involved in promoting Linux. Earlier this year, the company launched the A760 handset, its first mobile phone powered by the software. Motorola has said previously that Linux will serve as a "key pillar of its handset software strategy." The company believes the rapid pace of applications development in the open-source community can help it build new services quickly.

Motorola is so convinced of the promise of Linux that it sold its 19 percent stake in Symbian, a leading developer of operating systems for smart phones that use next-generation cellular networks.

Thus far, Motorola has leaned on a partnership with MontaVista Software, a developer focused on products for embedded devices such as DVD players and network routers, to build its Linux-based devices.

Under the RealNetworks-Motorola agreement, the companies will partner with wireless services providers to develop streaming audio and video services, and Motorola's HelloMoto consumer handset business will distribute RealNetworks software to people.