updated 06:40 pm EDT, Wed June 23, 2010
HP buys creator of nuTsie
(Update with confirmation) HP may be buying its way into music streaming for Palm's webOS devices with the acqusition of Melodeo, a scoop today claimed. The PC veteran has completed a deal reportedly worth as much as $35 million and would primarily get nuTsie, a mobile media streaming app. It lets Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users stream their iTunes playlists over the Internet as well as access streams from fellow users and from recommendations; the iPhone is also supported but only has recommended playlists as it already has local iTunes access.
TechCrunch adds that an acquisition would also get David Billmaier, the music firm's VP of Product Marketing and a former designer at Apple.
The exact reasons for the purchase weren't outlined, but the deal would come just as Melodeo is about to launch nuTsie 3.0, a considerably more advanced version of the service. It would let subscribers to the service upload their entire music collections to the web and stream it to a phone without needing an active computer at home. The approach would go so far as to add two-way sync that sees music added on a computer or on the phone pushed up to the server.
While there is no certainty that HP would keep running nuTsie as-is, the plan could address Palm's concerns about music syncing and give webOS a strong advantage in media playback over competitors like Apple and Google. Palm has been largely barred from directly syncing its media from iTunes since Apple implemented more permanent anti-circumvention code, but with an HP-Melodeo deal it could avoid this entirely by putting music from iTunes or other sources on the phone through the network. It could be critical to HP's webOS tablet plans as it wouldn't need a large amount of storage to hold a user's entire media library.
Android is integrating streaming a home collection after Google's buyout of Simplify Media but doesn't yet have a solution that keeps music stored elsewhere. Google's rumored music service would have a streaming music option, but the music itself would be subscription based and wouldn't necessarily be a mirror of the customer's local music library.
Update: HP has confirmed that it has bought Melodeo, but hasn't confirmed the terms of the deal or its exact plans. The deal is "another example of our efforts to bring new, innovative technologies to market," HP said. "We are excited about the potential of this technology to bring the power of cloud-based delivery service to millions of customers."