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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Mar 28

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3/28/2012 1:48 PM  RssIcon

HTC, the Taiwanese maker of mobile handsets, has purchased a 20 percent stake in SyncTV, the online video platform for content providers based in Sunnyvale, California.

HTC is looking to create an entire ecosystem of unique content and apps that would differentiate it from other mobile handset makers.

The investment is a part of a broad technology partnership between HTC and Intertrust Technologies Corp., of which SyncTV is a subsidiary. There’s no indication as to how or when HTC will use SyncTV and the related patents. But HTC has been on a buying spree of various online and entertainment services.

Last year, the mobile phone maker bought headphone manufacturer Beats Electronics. That Beats division reportedly just bought subscription music service Mog. HTC also recently acquired cloud-gaming service OnLive and video-on-demand service Saffron Digital.

HTC has decided to create an ecosystem that could differentiate it from other mobile handset makers. Sales growth at HTC had slowed dramatically in recent months. The company hopes their recent acquisitions will help them get a leg up in the smartphone market for which it was once a huge player.

SyncTV comes with a cloud-based video service that supports iOS, Android, Windows Phone, X-box and Internet-connected television sets. Included in the deal is a license for Intertrust’s Marlin DRM software, used to manage and secure content by providers in Japan, China and Europe.

HTC was the first to adopt Android for it’s handsets—it built the original Google phone, the G1, in 2008—and reaped the benefits of being an early adopter. Later it added Sense, a software overlay to the platform, and both sales and profits continued to rise. As more device brands appeared, however, HTC’s smartphone sales ceased to outpace competitors who offer more digital content.

By offering music streaming, video-on-demand, gaming, and now the allusion to an iCloud-like contacts and messaging sync, an HTC cloud service would be positioned in direct competition with many aspects of Google’s Play marketplace, of which its Android platform shares.

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