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Can Dazzboard Dazzle iTunes Customers?

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

iTunes rules the world in terms of transferring music back and forth between hand held devices and the Internet. However, Dazzboard, is set to challenge that dominance with a service that will allow you to plug a wide range of mobile devices into your computer and easily transfer multimedia content like photos and videos in addition to music.


Finland (or as fans of Spamalot would call it - Finland, Finland, Finland) has long been the world leader in adoption of hand held devices.  Dazzboard is being developed by Linkotec, a Finnish startup.  Dazzboard is a browser-based solution that it has many of the features of iTunes but without Apple’s closed environment. 

Using Dazzboard you can connect your computer to a wide range of mobile devices and transfer multimedia content like photos, videos and music via the web-based interface.  Once you move your files from your mobile device to Dazzboard, it will also help you organize your files and share them out to all the popular social networking services. File transferring goes both ways as with the ‘Dazz me’ bookmarklet you can download content from the Web to the media manager and to your mobile device.

Dazzboard supports any portable device that can be used in mass storage or media transfer mode. This is their big differentiation from iTunes.  Dazzboard splits the portable media players and mobile phones it supports into two groups.  The first are fully supported devices that are supported and maintained in the Dazzboard database, meaning it's really easy to setup the device for file transfer.  Then you have generic devices which are not fully supported by Dazzboard but most devices can be setup via their generic media hub. 

The device manager plugin appears to be the component that has Dazzboard limited to certain browsers and even in a supported browser it's not intuitive to get the plugin downloaded and installed.  Once installed it appears to work great - but setup is still a challenge in the beta product.  The music selection skews European - but that's largely based on the location of the company and the majority of the beta testers.  When you are looking at a video, picture or song you can report explicit content (don't click on it for a test - it's a one click reporting process, no "are you sure" messages) and broken links.  However, there is no reporting for "this is a stolen video, track or photo."

Since these digital items appear to be on the Dazzboard servers, it looks like they will certainly be chatting with the Recording Industry or America Association (RIAA) and other international organisations that support digital content rights.  While Dazzboard includes links to sites that offer music, photos and videos with creative-commons or other free to use licenses - there does not appear to be any sort of effective controls in place.  Though there privacy policy does note "Pursuant to section 22 of Laki tietoyhteiskunnan palvelujen tarjoamisesta, notifications of claimed copyright infringement should be sent to LinkoTec."

Dazzboard wants to lead the new era of media managing and distribution where you can manage your portable device, media within and discover new content to play with. They have a good start and it's worth a trial - especially if you have a non-iPod device (the tutorial is well worth a viewing before you get started).  I am impressed with Dazzboard as a beta product - the challenge will be to see what they can unleash before they launch and if they will have the funding to keep the innovation going.

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