Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 12 News List

VIA subsidiary to introduce digital content platform


Chipmaker VIA Technologies Inc (威盛科技) announced yesterday that it is venturing into the digital entertainment market through its investment in VIA OnDemand Ltd, which will launch a digital content platform at the end of September.

The platform -- "total media client" -- will allow users to download music, movies and games onto their computers and mobile devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones and other wireless devices, Wayne Chang (張心望), co-founder of VIA OnDemand, said at a press conference yesterday.

Chang declined to disclose VIA Technologies' investment and shareholding in the company.

The software also offers an instant messenger, video conferencing and voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) among other features, Chang said.

VIA Technologies, a supplier of chipsets and embedded processors, has diversified into other areas like PCs, embedded systems and mobile devices in recent years.

But the investment in VIA OnDemand will extend the company's reach from hardware into software and service provider, Cher Wang (王雪紅), chairwoman of VIA, told reporters yesterday.

Wang is also chairwoman of High Tech Computer Corp (HTC, 宏達電子), a manufacturer of smartphones and pocket PCs using Windows operating system. HTC's market share of smartphones is 70 percent worldwide.

HTC announced early this month that it was acquiring Dopod International Corp (多普達), a local vendor that used to source its handsets from HTC on an original design manufacturer basis.

Like Apple Computer Inc's iTunes and iPod business model, VIA OnDemand will bundle the digital platform and PDAs and smartphones made by Dopod.

The platform, however, can also work on any mobile devices that use the Windows system, Chang said.

Content providers working with VIA OnDemand include major record labels and movie and game distributors, Chang said, without specifying the partners.

The charge for the service will be mainly determined by content providers, which would also take market prices into account, he said.

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