HTC is the latest company to plunge deeper into the cloud paradigm, acquiring a company that builds software for syncing content across mobile devices.
HTC is clearly interested in competing with Apple and other
companies in the mobile-cloud game, snatching up a Seattle-based company known
for its device-syncing software.
Financials of the agreement between the manufacturer and
Seattle-based Dashwire remained undisclosed, but the latter will become a
wholly owned subsidiary of HTC. Dashwire's Dashworks platform allows users to
access mobile content across multiple screens and devices; the company also
offers software for setting up and personalizing smartphones. HTC will
integrate its new acquisition's assets into its HTCSense.com cloud services.
"Cloud services are key to delivering the promise of connected
services to our customers," Fred Liu, president of engineering and operations
for HTC, wrote in an Aug. 5 statement. "People want access to all of their
important content wherever they are on any device. The addition of Dashwire's
cutting-edge sync services and deep mobile cloud experience strengthens our
ability to deliver these services in a more powerful way."
HTC, Samsung and other mobile-device manufacturers face a
clear and present cloud threat from Apple, which recently unveiled its iCloud
initiative. Due to ship alongside iOS 5 sometime this fall, iCloud will sync
data across a variety of iOS and Mac OS X devices, and serve as an online
repository for documents, photos and music.
Some analysts see the iCloud as increasing Apple's
"stickiness" among consumers. In a research note released on the heels of Apple
first revealing its cloud initiative in June, Ticonderoga Securities analyst
Brian White wrote that, "These new announcements further strengthen Apple's
digital ecosystem by providing consumers with increased functionality, enhanced
ease of use, greater efficiency and cool new features
... that we believe will drive further adoption of Apple devices in the
Evidently, other manufacturers are wary enough of Apple's
cloud plans to formulate a few of their own. Granted, mobile devices running
Android already have access to cloud services such as Amazon's Cloud Player and
Google's various platforms, but HTC's acquisition reinforces they're also
examining how their own brands can become more cloud-optimized.
HTC also faces a battle for market
share against other manufacturers. For the three-month period ended in
June, research firm comScore listed the top mobile OEMs, in descending order,
as Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola, Apple and RIM. However, a new note from
research firm IDC suggests that, on a global level, HTC's unit shipments have
increased 165.9 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the same period
of 2010-trailing Samsung, which rose 380.6 percent, but well ahead of RIM, Nokia
and others in the space.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter