Interview: Microsoft talks about its new PlayReady DRM technology

At 3GSM this year, Microsoft launched PlayReady, its new ‘content access’ technology for mobile content, including music, video, games, ringtones and wallpapers. In essence, it’s extending Microsoft’s existing Windows Media DRM system to mobile, and expanding it beyond music and video.

I sat down with Microsoft’s Jim Alkove at 3GSM last week to find out more, starting with the basic overview.

What’s PlayReady about, in a nutshell?

Basically it’s a content access technology that supports different business models, like subscriptions, rentals, purchases, pay-per-view and preview, for a wide variety of content types well beyond music and video.

The technology will support an array of operator partners, including Bouygues Telecom, Telefonica, O2, Cingular and Verizon. And it’s available on a platform-agnostic basis, meaning it can be put in a wide range of devices, including operating systems other than Windows Mobile 6.

It will be available in the first half of this year for device implementations, and we expect we’ll start to see volumes of handsets coming through sometime in 2008. So that’s the high-level framing of what we’re announcing.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 21, 2007 5:45 PM in 3GSM 2007| Interviews| MP3 players| Mobile phones| Top stories
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30 things we learned at 3GSM 2007

3gsm-crowd.jpgPhew. As ever, 3GSM was tiring both physically and mentally, with a barrage of new products and companies, plus an enormous venue to walk around. Honestly, if we believed in wearing pedometers, they'd have exploded by Tuesday.

So now the Shiny team is back in Blighty, what did we learn from this year's 3GSM? It's a chance to spot the hottest new mobile phones and technology, as well as suss out the most important mobile trends for the next 12 months. Here's our main thoughts.

1. There was no big theme this year

3GSM 2006 saw immense hype around mobile TV, with companies queuing up to proclaim it the Next Big Thing in mobile entertainment. The fact that it's since disappointed means that the lack of a single big hype this year isn't necessarily a bad thing. There was lots of buzz, but spread around a bunch of subjects, which is a healthier state of affairs.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 16, 2007 4:49 PM in 3GSM 2007| Mobile phones| Top stories
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MySpace may "die fast" if it doesn't get mobile social networking right

myspace.jpgUs Brits will soon be able to access MySpace on our phones – well, we will if we're on Vodafone, anyway, as the two companies have signed an exclusive deal. But is it that important that MySpace launches a mobile version?

Apparently so. Alex Kummermann of mobile social networking firm Clicmobile reckons that it's essential to MySpace's continued survival. "Big social networks are like mushrooms: they grow very fast, but they die very fast too," he tells Techspace.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 16, 2007 1:22 PM in 3GSM 2007| Interviews| Mobile phones| Web 2.0
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ShoZu launches automatic Flickr and YouTube geotagging for your mobile photos and videos

shozu.gifThere are plenty of people out there geotagging their photos (uploading info on the location they were taking) already, but it takes a bit of knowledge. However, mobile application ShoZu has just added a feature that automatically geotags your photos and videos before uploading them to Flickr, YouTube and various other Web 2.0 services.

You need a GPS-enabled phone like the Nokia N95 to use it, mind, to get an accurate latitude and longitude for where you captured the photo or video clip. For Flickr users, the application will also automatically add your geotagged photos to your Flickr map.

(via Techscape)

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 16, 2007 1:12 PM in 3GSM 2007| Mobile phones| Web 2.0
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iPhone will raise the bar for "cumbersome" mobile music, says Warner Music chairman

bronfman.jpgSo much for the mobile industry's attempts to persuade everyone to download music to their phones. According to Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr, it's not working very well.

"It's expensive, it's complicated and it's slow," he told a panel audience at 3GSM this week. "It's amazing we've generated as much revenue as we have given how cumbersome the experience can be." He also pointed out that even buying a ringtone from your operator can often require up to 20 key-presses. The solution? iPhone. Well, kind of.

"Before it's even hit the market it has raised the bar in terms of what users expect with a user interface and what music phones should do," he said. "Now it's up to other mobile phone makers to meet users' expectations. "For those who invent with a similarly inspiring vision, the opportunity is immense."

(via Yahoo News)

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 16, 2007 10:25 AM in 3GSM 2007| MP3 players| Mobile phones
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Transformers: Robots in a mobile game...

autobot_1680.jpgOne of the hot stories in mobile games at 3GSM was the public unveiling of Transformers, the official game of the upcoming movie.

If you're yet to be convinced by the joys of playing games on your phone, how about one where you control Optimus Prime himself, switching between robot and truck modes at will?

The game is due out in late June or early July, just before the film hits the big screen.

(via Pocket Gamer)

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 15, 2007 4:06 PM in 3GSM 2007| Gaming| Mobile phones
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3GSM 2007: FunkySexyCool is like MySpace meets Am I Hot Or Not... on your phone

funkysexycool.jpgFew of the mobile social networking companies at 3GSM are offering users prizes for being attractive. One who is, though, is FunkySexyCool, an Australian mobile community with over 200,000 users posting profiles and voting on one another's purdyness. The company just signed a deal with a company called Hands-On Mobile to bring it to the UK.

Hands-On has also announced its own YouTube-beater, a mobile service called Phame TV that lets users upload video clips from their mobile, and then get a cut when other users download them for 20p a pop. Find out more about both FunkySexyCool and Phame TV over on Techscape's interview with Hands-On's Eric Hobson.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 15, 2007 3:33 PM in 3GSM 2007| Mobile phones| Web 2.0
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3GSM 2007: Motorola wants to get everyone blogging

The big handset manufacturers aren't just focused on music, TV and signing deals with trendy fashion houses to get some free Prada gear, y'know. Really.

On its stand at 3GSM, Motorola was showing off its new mobile blogging application. It'll sit on a range of Moto phones from later this year, allowing you to automatically upload photos and video to various blogging/photo-sharing/video sites.

In that sense, it's similar to the ShoZu application that's been around for a while now. But at least Motorola is making its application work with a range of different services, which contrasts with Nokia and Sony Ericsson's strategy of signing individual deals with, say, Flickr, Blogger and Vox.

Read more over on Techscape.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 15, 2007 1:09 PM in 3GSM 2007| Mobile phones
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3GSM 2007: "The big internet players don't understand mobile"

springall.jpgCan YouTube be a big hit on mobile phones? The company signed a deal with Vodafone last week, but some industry rivals aren't so sure.

One is Yospace CTO David Springall. The company runs the See Me TV and Look At Me mobile video-sharing services for 3 and O2 respectively, and recently got bought by Emap to bring its skills to that company's magazines and radio/TV channels. Will YouTube face a challenge in making itself mobile?

"The trouble with the big internet players is they don't understand mobile very well," he says. "It’s considered simply as a technical issue of getting content onto the phone, but it’s far more than that. Also, these big guys have a different view on what the business model is for mobile, as opposed to the operators. Potentially, what's in YouTube's interests is very different to what's in Vodafone's interest."

Read more about Springall's views on mobile user-generated content at Techscape's interview from 3GSM.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 15, 2007 12:57 PM in 3GSM 2007| Mobile phones| Web 2.0
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3GSM 2007: NVIDIA's GoForce 5500 demonstration next-gen mobile interface

To see some of the properly futuristic stuff at 3GSM, you have to seek out the technology companies. On its stand, NVIDIA was running a bunch of demos, including one showing a next-generation mobile interface, powered by its GoForce 5500 chipset.

The demo shows a mobile screen switching between video, photos and gaming with all manner of spangly visual effects. How soon will this sort of UI make its way into handsets you can actually buy? That's down to the mobile makers to sort out.

Posted by Stuart Dredge on February 15, 2007 11:07 AM in 3GSM 2007| Mobile phones
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