Is Microsoft's PlayReady ready to go yet?

Announced one year ago at 3GSM in Barcelona, PlayReady is Microsoft's DRM solution for mobile content providers. Now one year later, more partners have announced planned deployments...but it has seen no rollouts yet.

PlayReady strives to provide the mobile content industry with an easily deployable implementation that cover any mobile hardware or software. Though Microsoft announced in 2007 it had partnered with Telefonica, O2, Verizon Wireless, Bouyges Telecom, and Cingular Wireless (now AT&T), a whole year went by without a single rollout.

Now, at the same convention, many are announcing their intents, but little appears to have changed.

Today, Microsoft announced partnerships with Telefonica Espana, Telecom Italia, and Weather Investments -- which owns Orascom Telecom and Wind Mobile -- promising more future deployments of PlayReady beginning in the second half of 2008 and thereafter.

As far as announcements of devices that may actually be ready for purchase in the near future, the only one we found today came from Omnifone. Its deployment is currently scheduled for the second half of 2008 to coincide with its existing MusicStation service. Omnifone plans to utilize PlayReady to allow users to easily transfer protected music from their phones to their Windows-based PCs.

ReadyPlay was initially touted as being compatible with Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM platform, but was perhaps stymied by the abandonment of PlaysForSure by partners, then later by Microsoft itself, when it was rebranded "Certified for Vista." Now, ReadyPlay is simply advertised as being Windows Media DRM 10-compatible, simply stripping off a layer of Microsoft's usual superfluous brand names.

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