How often have people wished their iPods were wireless, so they could download their digital content on-demand, wherever they were?
Although Zing can’t solve that problem for iPod owners, the new Bay Area company is hoping to provide always-on access to other mp3 or digital players. Founded by former Apple exec Tim Bucher, Zing has been in deep stealth mode for over a year. It’s coming-out party is tomorrow, at the The Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital: D4 Conference in Carlsbad.
What does Zing do? It’s a software platform that allows digital media devices to connect to music services or other online content sources.
“What we’ve created is what we call a non-Pod solution,” Bucher told us earlier this week. “It’s a connected entertainment system. And our service center can connect to different music services so that if use Yahoo Music or whatever, we can plug right into to those music stores…It’s a mobilized version of iTunes”
“With iTunes, you’re tethered to your PC. And you have to synch to get your content. And once you’re synched, you have a great playback solution. But you can’t do any additional discovery when you’re not connected to a PC. With Zing, it’s a fully mobile solution that is always connected.”
Bucher said Zing can work across any type of wireless connection, from WiFi to 3G.
For starters, Zing has a deal with Sirius satellite radio to stream live Sirius content to mobile devices. Bucher said a Zing-powered Sirius device is in the works, but he was not ready to divulge details earlier this week.
The technology also allows users to purchase digital content direct from their mobile devices and to share playlists with other Zing users.
Zing is not itself a direct consumer service. The company will partner with digital player makers to help power their devices. Indeed, Zing’s viability is wholly reliant on device-makers embracing the concept.
Zing is based in Mountain View. Bucher was head of Macintosh Hardware Engineering at Apple, overseeing development of the Mac mini, among other things. He left on somewhat bad terms in 2004, though he now says that episode is behind him. He also founded Mirra, and was VP of consumer products at Microsoft. The company has taken an undisclosed amount of funding from Redpoint Ventures.