Seattle's Real Networks launched a video service with Cingular Wireless, the largest carrier in the country, earlier this year. Yesterday I got a small peek of what it looks like on the phone of John Giamatteo, Real's executive vice president of worldwide business products and services and international operations.
During a two-minute CNN clip, I clearly saw President Bush walking across the lawn in a news segment. Although I wouldn't compare it to HDTV quality or even cable, it looked remarkably good.
Although Cingular has launched the video product; everyone is waiting to hear about when it might offer full-track music downloads. During its press conference yesterday, an analyst asked when it might be ready because the service cures the impulses of consumers who have to have it now.
Jim Ryan, Cingular's vice president of consumer data services, said before a music service is launched, the company is looking for services like the MySpace ringtone program launched yestereday that will build habits on an evolutionary basis.
Giamatteo said Real is a big believer in music on the mobile phone. "The iPod will be in trouble," he said.
As for any potential deal with Cingular brewing, he said: "Our platform supports a wide variety of digital content. Music is the next logical step."
He cautioned: "At this point, nothing has been launched."