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    First StreamMan service


    Mobile music was confirmed as a core target for mobile operators with the launch of more services across Europe.
    Sonera led the way with the world’s first introduction of a service supported by Sony’s StreamMan platform, launched in March 2004.

    “We are very pleased to see Sony’s StreamMan service go live for the first time in the world in Finland. This is the beginning of a pan-European rollout that will see StreamMan launched by a number of mobile operators in other European countries later this year,” senior vice president Robert Ashcroft from Sony Network Services Europe, said.
    Ashcroft said, “StreamMan has the potential to generate large scale growth in data applications for mobile networks, and has elicited strong interest from mobile operators around the world.”
    StreamMan is based on the 3GPP-standard AAC audio format and was developed by Sony Network Services with support from Alcatel subsidiary PacketVideo Network Solutions. StreamMan is designed as a mobile entertainment application that mobile phone operators can provide for their customers on GPRS or 3G/UMTS networks.
    Service management company End2End is responsible for the hosting, management, and delivery of the  managed service solution, including the streaming and digital rights management platforms.
    The service requires a Symbian Series 60 or UIQ handset and a GPRS or 3G subscription, dependent upon the availability of the partnering mobile operator’s network.The service also works a little like Tivo television technology, in that it learns a user’s individual tastes to provide a group of stations and channels for the subscriber.
    StreamMan offers a wide variety of music from both large and independent labels through different channels. In addition to the usual stream of music, subscribers to the service may listen to channels playing only music of a certain theme or style — for example a 90’s hits channel. The service also allows customers to give feedback on currently playing songs by rating “like” or “dislike”. StreamMan adjusts the channel accordingly. Subscribers may also save songs in personal playlists and listen only to the music of their choice. 
    Department Director Olli-Pekka Takanen of TeliaSonera Finland, said, “In the future, Sonera mobile customers may listen to music transmitted by StreamMan also with their computer, if they have broadband access.”
    This takes the mobile service into direct competition with other online music providers, most obviously i-Tunes, recently launched in Europe.
    Sonera customers need to register and download the StreamMan application from its WAP portal; > Viihde > Musiikki > StreamMan or > Ladattavat sovellukset > Viihde > StreamMan.
    Initially the operator will charge no connection or monthly fees for the use of StreamMan, preferring instead to make a data transfer charge according to Sonera’s valid price list will be collected. At first, the service can only be used with Nokia 6600 and Ericsson P800 and P900 phones.
    l Controversial US ringtone company Xingtone has secured first round funding from Siemens’ start-up incubator Siemens Mobile Acceleration.
    Xingtone’s application bridges personal computers and mobile phones, allowing users to exploit their MP3 and CD libraries to create custom ringtones and upload content, such as images and games, to their own wireless handsets.
    The software has some record companies worried that letting users create unique cellular phone rings for free will hit ringtone revenues.
    The fear is that people will make ringtones out of pirated songs, thus compounding the file-sharing problem while robbing the music industry of a new source of revenue.