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Time To Get 'Real' And 'Unifi'


SEATTLE (Hypebot) – Ever since spinning off its Rhapsody Music service, the exit of longtime chief Rob Glaser, and left a with a gaming service and products like RealPlayer that are declining in popularity, RealNetworks has been struggling to find its corporate d'être.

But yesterday at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference, the company revealed its next big product: an online digital music and media locker dubbed Unifi.


Details are slim, but according to a plea for beta testers, "Unifi lets you manage all your photos, music and videos in one place. It works across multiple devices, so you can enjoy your memories wherever you are, whenever you want, and even share them with family and friends on Facebook."


Unifi sounds similar to parts of Lala (bought and shuttered by Apple), MP3Tunes (in the midst of a lawsuit with EMI) and rumored but unlaunched services from Google and iTunes.  All have come up against objections from rights holders that fear online lockers will be used to store and play pirated material and claims that lockers constitute an additional use that they should be paid for.


How Unifi plans to overcome these objections or differentiate itself from competitors remains unclear; and the answers could determine RealNetwork's future.