Microsoft will be rolling out the beta programme for their Windows Media Player 10 application today, with the emphasis on portability and DRM.
One of WM10’s new features will be easy synchronisation of media libraries with portable devices – something that iPod users have enjoyed since iTunes was released. WM10 needs to be able to see portable devices as a disk drive in order to perform synchronisation, but many modern players behave like this when connected to a Windows machine.
For devices that run Windows Media Centre Portable OS, such as the Creative Lab’s offering detailed yesterday, Microsoft have developed the Media Transfer Protocol to automatically synchronise files between the two.
Synchronisation is not straightforward for Microsoft as many different manufacturers provide a range of disparate hardware – something that Apple, with two basic iPods, does not have to worry about.
WM10 will also feature the new Janus DRM technology, allowing subscription music sites like Napster to employ seamless licensing across devices.
Many of the new features of WM10 will of course be dormant until portable devices supporting them start to appear later in 2004.