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Rethinking Desktop Apps

Startup TransMedia offers a dozen online consumer-media applications that could change the software game

Google, Microsoft, and, meet TransMedia. The startup is joining the big boys in moving applications online in response to the emergence of the software-as-a-service model.

TransMedia this week plans to release an integrated suite of consumer-media applications that could radically alter the balance of power among Internet and software service providers. And it could give businesses a new way to provide workers with applications on a variety of computing devices at any location.

The software, disclosed in mid-October and demoed earlier this month, is called Glide Effortless. It's a set of 12 apps for content creation, communication, E-commerce, and sharing. Because the apps were developed simultaneously, they work in concert with elegance that this writer hasn't seen in other loosely linked software programs such as Apple Computer's consumer media applications or Microsoft Office.


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TransMedia offers 12 browser-based apps for content creation, communication, E-commerce, and sharing.

Glide is browser-based and thus can be used on the three major PC operating systems: Linux, Mac, and Windows. Mac users will have to wait until Dec. 25 for a platform-specific data synchronization component but should be able to use the service at launch. In January, Glide will be available on portable devices such as cell phones. Shortly thereafter, it will run on digital cable-TV set-top boxes. The software is available in three plans. The free plan includes Glide Mail, Glide Contacts, Glide Shops, Glide Photos, Glide Music, Glide Video and Glide Docs with 50 Mbytes of storage. The standard plan, $4.95 monthly or $49.95 annually, includes all 12 apps except video and audio conferencing, with 750 Mbytes of storage. The premium plan, $9.95 monthly or $99.95 annually, offers all 12 apps and 2 Gbytes of storage.

But just who will be providing the software? Not only is TransMedia selling Glide to users, it's also licensing it to media companies so they can sell it as a branded service. As a result, companies such as Comcast, Disney, SBC Communications, and Verizon will have the opportunity to offer an integrated, monetizable service.

"Media companies and cable companies may be the biggest beneficiaries of Glide Effortless, providing their subscribers with superior online applications and services that are more seamlessly integrated than current offerings from Yahoo or Google," TransMedia CEO Donald Leka said in an E-mail.

Integration is a key benefit of the software. Glide Mail, for example, has been designed to work with the suite's photo, music, video, document, and streaming environments. It lets users easily and securely send all sorts of media files, playlists, slide shows, and podcasts to anyone as tiny 5-Kbyte messages.

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