Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Samsung Smart TVs Get Sweeter With SugarSync

At CES last week, Samsung Electronics showed off its AllShare Play technology for sharing content across multiple electronic devices through the cloud. As Forbes points out, AllShare actually isn’t new — Samsung has supported the service for about six years now.

What is new, though, is that start-up cloud service SugarSync is now available on Samsung’s new “smart” TVs.

For Samsung TV owners, having SugarSync as part of AllShare Play means that they can upload media from any device — not just a Samsung PC or Samsung smartphone — and then wirelessly access it through the TV. And they can access uncompressed media, so if they’re storing high-resolution or HD media through SugarSync, that’s what they’ll get on the TV. It’s not clear which specific models of Samsung’s smart TVs will have SugarSync as part of AllShare, but Samsung has stated before that the service will be available on TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and digital cameras.

For SugarSync, it’s a first step into the TV market, as well as a leg up on its direct competitor, Dropbox, which currently doesn’t have a presence in TVs. Dropbox, which claims 50 million users, declined to comment on whether it is working with manufacturers to get its app on smart TVs. The Dropbox app can be accessed through browsers on smart TVs, but it seems like some Dropbox fans have been itching for a dedicated app on television sets.

One of the features that sets SugarSync apart from Dropbox is the five gigabytes of free storage space offered to new customers (though Dropbox does offer 5GB of free storage to HTC mobile phone owners). Keep in mind that a single two-hour HD movie can take up approximately 10GB. But SugarSync CEO Laura Yecies says its cloud-sharing service on TVs is meant more for short home movies and photos, rather than feature-length movies or other file types, like work documents.

Still, if you’re storing lots of home movies in your account — think of all those videos you shoot on your smartphone — that 5GB of space will fill up pretty quickly, which means you’ll be prompted to upgrade to a premium SugarSync account.

It’s not the first partnership SugarSync has forged with hardware makers, and Yecies said the company is exploring more. Last year, Lenovo said its Think-branded laptops would ship with SugarSync on them, and Fujitsu began including SugarSync on its ScanSnap scanners. SanDisk has also created an app for Android smartphones that automatically dumps media from the phone’s memory card to SugarSync, in order to free up space on the device.

Overseas, the company has also partnered with carriers Korea Telecom and France Telecom Orange, as a cloud service offered with mobile or broadband Internet service.

SugarSync launched under Yecies in 2008, after having previously operated under the name Sharpcast. While the start-up says its customer base grew sixfold last year, it declined to say how many total users it has, except to say it’s in the millions.

“TVs are a big step for us, in terms of convergence,” Yecies said. “All the devices are coming together, people are starting to understand the cloud, and the reality is it’s really becoming mainstream.”

In case you’ve missed the sky-high predictions for the cloud market, research firm IDC sized the cloud sharing and sync market at $724 million in 2009, and projects that it will grow at a compound annual rate of 28.2 percent, to over $2.5 billion in 2014.


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