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The next version of the popular open source video player Miro will bring video to your Android (s GOOG) mobile phone and Apple (s AAPL) iPad: Miro 4, which will be released some time next month, will add device syncing and home network sharing, enabling users to access their Miro media library from a multitude of different devices.
Miro is developed by the non-profit Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), whose co-founder Nicholas Reville gave me a first preview of the upcoming version this week, saying that Miro 4 is going to be “by far the biggest update we’ve ever done”.
The most notable new feature in Miro 4 is device syncing, which makes it possible to automatically download media to connected mobile phones, tablets or even plain old hard drives. Miro converts media for a number of devices, utilizing the same code that has been implemented into the stand-alone Miro Video Converter. The PCF is still asking users to submit device profiles and has a generic fallback system in place for unknown devices.
Another important new feature is home sharing, which makes it possible to stream and download media between multiple computers running Miro within the same network. Miro utilizes the iTunes DAAP protocol for home sharing, which means that your Miro shares will also be accessible through other DAAP clients.
Other features include an extensions API, bigger emphasis on audio content and a revamped search functionality. Reville told me that Miro currently has about two million active users per month. The PCF tracked about five million downloads of the software last year.
Of course, Miro isn’t the only application targeting users of iPads and other devices, and apps like Doubletwist have been trying for years to establish themselves as iTunes competitors. What can Miro offer that others can’t? Said Reville: “There’s a big unfilled need for a great audio and video player that can sync with Android devices, and we believe Miro 4 will be the best in the world for this.” He added that the PCF is currently in talks with device manufacturers to bundle Miro with mobile devices.