Anyone who started off on the internet in the 1990's will remember the ubiquitous RealPlayer from RealNetworks--it was the only real video option besides the just-as-awful QuickTime. Then, YouTube came along and the world became a better place.
Today, RealNetworks announced their next plan: a cloud-based media network. Called Unifi, the service "...enables users to store personal media (music, videos and photos) and access it via any Web-connected device." Pretty revolutionary, if this was four years ago.
On top of the service, they plan to offer direct support for Windows Phone 7 in Q2, so like mid-year. We can't really say we're thrilled, but hey, maybe Unifi will be really awesome? Ahem, yeah.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
This is actually a pretty cool service...
Here is a link to a PCmag.com article that details how it works: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373983,00.asp Here's a brief quote from the article:
"Using Unifi's Web-based interface or mobile app, users can play cloud-based content housed on any of their devices (listed at the top of the Unify interface) or have Unifi upload any desired content from their local PC to the cloud so they can play on their mobile device. The local PC does have to be on and connected to the internet in order for this to work. If it's isn't, Unifi will schedule the upload for whenever the machine comes online. Unifi works with your existing media apps, including iTunes. If the Librarian is running, it will see new songs and media added to your playlists and catalog them so you can access all of it through the Unifi interface."
Please, if anyone has a reputation problem around here it isn't me but RealNetworks. And what you just described has been around for years on Windows Mobile and WP7 already. I mean how is this different/better than JukeFly, Remotely Possible, etc.?
Here in Philly, I actually took part in a focus group in which this service was shown to us as a "project" back in July. None of us knew it was ReaNetworks until they unknowingly revealed it in one of the tentative names and a few of us recognized it. The technologically advanced of us suggested that the service would probably flop due to the fact that this is being done NOW and has been done already. I see they decided to go forward with it anyway.
Look as i see it, the more involvement in WP7 from major third parties the better. So i say good on Real for coming on board with their own take on things.
For everyone saying this is being done now, well it's not being done well, and it's not available for WP7 yet. So I'll be more than happy to have Real throwing their hat into the arena.
JukeFly and Remotely Possible are both on WP7 now. And although I always welcome competition, Real has a poor past with users so, speaking for myself, I'm skeptical.
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