Chalk up a victory for those who crave all-in-one media integration on their Netbooks, because RealNetworks has announced a licensing agreement with many of the major Linux software companies to have RealPlayer for Mobile preinstalled on Ubuntu and Instant-On Netbook OS systems made by Xandros, Phoenix Technologies, DeviceVM, and Canonical.
An "Instant-On" system, usually Linux-based, is a miniature OS that boots up quicker than the main OS, allowing quicker on-the-fly access of files. For Netbooks, the advantage to an Instant-On system is obvious, but often these environments are significantly hobbled in usability. Presto, HyperSpace, and Splashtop, made by Xandros, Phoenix Technologies, and Device VM, will all get RealPlayer-branded players. Splashtop already comes preinstalled on Lenovo, Asus, HP, and LG Netbooks.
Ubuntu Netbooks have been achieving significant market share because of their price, but a branded all-in-one solution for various media formats will only help their share improve. In this regard, RealNetworks' Computex-timed announcement of their licensing agreement is good timing. The relative cost-effectiveness of RealPlayer, which includes most codecs, for Netbook manufacturers, also doesn't hurt.
Netbooks are rapidly becoming relied on for their media-playing capabilities, and if this helps chip away at making Netbooks even savvier at handling video, and at making cheaper Ubuntu Netbooks more versatile, then we're all for it.