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RealNetworks goes mobile with NEC

The company says a mobile version of its multimedia playback software is now available in NEC's MobilePro P300 handheld computers.

RealNetworks on Thursday said that it shipped a mobile version of its multimedia playback software in NEC's MobilePro P300 handheld computers.

The partnership will allow NEC MobilePro users to transfer audio and video files from their PCs and play back the media on their handhelds. MobilePro users can also stream songs and videos encoded in RealNetworks' software through a wireless connection.

The partnership is another effort by RealNetworks to extend the distribution of its software into non-PC devices. The company in March released a version of its RealOne streaming media player for Pocket PC, Microsoft's operating system for handheld computers. That same day, RealNetworks also extended a deal to embed its software in Compaq Computer's iPaq handhelds.

RealNetworks also struck a deal with Sony in April to embed its software in the Japanese electronic maker's home networking components. The agreement also left the door open for Sony to use RealNetworks' software on other portable devices.

Gaining distribution onto handhelds is one front in RealNetworks' ongoing market-share war against Microsoft, whose Windows Media software is a direct competitor. Despite its early lead in media playback software, RealNetworks has witnessed Microsoft make considerable gains. Microsoft's greatest advantage is its ability to distribute Windows Media software through its ubiquitous operating system.

RealNetworks is still competing in the software world, but has lately directed much of its energy to RealOne SuperPass, a subscription-based multimedia service that features content from Major League Baseball, CNN and ABCNews.com, among other sources.

RealNetworks and NEC are unveiling their partnership at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association) trade show in Las Vegas.