British mobile-phone giant Vodafone is to employ video streaming technology from industry leader RealNetworks in order to provide media-playback technology for its Vodafone Live! service.
The service, which provides subscribers with ring tones and interactive games, will eventually provide audio and video content to subscribers in Europe by the beginning of next year, potentially providing media owners and advertisers with a new spin on mobile media.
As a result of the deal, Vodafone has recommended to its handset suppliers that they incorporate RealNetworks' media player in their phones. A number of mobiles on the market incorporate RealNetworks' media player, the oldest being Nokia's clamshell-format Communicator.Analysts said that because Vodafone has chosen a big company, they would be able to bring video to their phones faster, and without the need to convert users to more expensive 3G phones. Vodafone Live! has around a million users across Europe.