Samsung boosts cloud media offering
Acquires mSpot and launches iTunes Match-like addition to Music Hub, as it chases Amazon and Apple
Published: 10 May, 2012
Samsung knows that improving the user experience is not the only essential way to make Apple nervous - it also needs to create a content and apps platform which differentiates it, rather than relying on vanilla Android offerings, and this needs to become part of a broader multiscreen ecosystem, with content accessible from all kinds of Samsung screens from TVs to phones.
The company has fewer natural content assets in this regard than Apple or Sony, though unlike Apple it has a huge TV brand, but it is building up its offering. At the Galaxy S III launch it also announced it was expanding its Music Hub streaming service to include a scan-and-match feature similar to iTunes Match, enabling consumers to access their digital music library across multiple platforms and devices. The revamped Music Hub scans the user's hard drive, matching their songs with the 17m tracks available in Samsung's library and making that content accessible via the cloud.
That was closely followed by the announcement that Samsung was to acquire mobile cloud content service provider mSpot. That will allow users to access their music and video, stored in the cloud, via the mSpot app, preinstalled on Galaxy devices. "MSpot shares our vision to bring a best-in-class cloud and streaming entertainment experience to consumers," said SVP of media solutions, TJ Kang, in a statement. "And they've backed it up with great technical solutions from a great engineering team."
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Silicon Valley-based mSpot was founded in 2004 with a service similar to those of Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music, delivering a user's media to mobile devices via the cloud. The service also supports a streaming radio offering similar to Pandora or Spotify and movie rentals. It is currently available on Android, iOS and BlackBerry but the future of the non-Samsung platforms may be in doubt, though for now the Korean vendor is merely harnessing its new purchase with an exclusive preloading deal for S III.
Samsung already has a media hub for movies but no digital media locker, which means its smartphone customers are likely to be using Amazon or Google instead to store their music. Samsung is well behind these rivals, and even Apple, in its cloud offering - it even had to partner with Dropbox for cloud storage for the S III, offering 50Gbytes of free space on that service with the new phone.