Taiwanese handest maker HTC is starting to realize that hardware and software alone aren’t enough to compete in today’s mobile market. The company bolstered its services area on Monday, buying a 20 percent stake in SyncTV, a Sunnyvale Ca. group that offers an online video platform for content providers. The investment is a part of a broad technology partnership between HTC and Intertrust Technologies Corporation, of which SyncTV is a subsidiary.
This type of content play might be a little overdue for HTC. The company was the first to adopt Android for it’s handsets — it build 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.
The SyncTV investment is a move in the right direction, as is its reduction of different phone models; HTC is focusing on a single line of smartphones called the One. By partnering with Intertrust and it’s SyncTV product, HTC has access to a cloud-based video service that supports Android and Windows Phone. 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.