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RealNetworks hits mobile phone screens

Looking to put some space between it and rival Microsoft, the company says it will send audio and video streams of sports and news programming to consumers' mobile phones.

RealNetworks on Monday announced that it will send audio and video streams of sports and news programming to consumers' mobile phones.

The digital media delivery company said that the programming will be available via AT&T Wireless, Cingular and T-Mobile--some of the leading U.S.cellular services.

The programming, under the heading of the RealOne Mobile Media Guide, will include news and sports clips, and other entertainment options such as movie trailers. The programming will come from national media providers including National Public Radio, FoxSports.com and Sporting News Radio. RealOne will also stream CNET Radio Direct, a unit of CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.

The service will first be available only on Nokia's 3650 mobile phone and on handheld devices running Microsoft's Pocket PC operating software. RealNetworks said that mobile phones from Siemens and Samsung will also support the service beginning later this year.

The mobile phone service is the latest attempt by RealNetworks to differentiate its technology and service from that of rival Microsoft, which has steadily chipped away at the streaming pioneer's lead in the industry. The service is part of RealNetworks' push beyond the desktop as competition for streaming to PCs has stiffened and sales of its server systems have declined.

Cellular providers are also moving to offer customers more data services over their wireless infrastructure. Mobile technology makers like Ericsson and Nokia benefit from the sales of mobile technology that includes multimedia capabilities.

To this end, RealNetworks already has a nonexclusive partnership with Ericsson. The telephone equipment maker will combine RealNetworks' Helix Universal Server with its new content delivery system, called the Ericsson Content Delivery Solution.

RealNetworks also has a partnership with Nokia, which uses the RealOne jukebox in its handsets and integrates the Helix platform into technology it sells to other wireless carriers.

RealNetworks also announced a program--called the RealOne Mobile On-ramp--aimed at content providers to convert their programming to be delivered over mobile networks.

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