Comes With Content Making a Comeback
One year after shutting down its Ovi Music Unlimited streaming service that came bundled with its smartphones, Nokia is trying again. On Tuesday, just ahead of its official unveiling of its first Windows Phone 8-powered Lumia handsets, Nokia announced a new music streaming service that will come bundled with its devices. Unlike Ovi Music, however, the new service will be free — no ads, no subscription fee. While the idea of bundling content with devices is not new, increasingly, content services are integral to device makers’ hardware strategies.
Nowhere is that more true than with Amazon, whose Kindle e-book readers and Kindle Fire tablets are essentially portable front doors to Amazon’s digital content stores. And sure enough, Amazon on Tuesday, just ahead of an expected announcement regarding a new-generation Kindle Fire, Â announced a new deal with Epix to bring new-ish Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM films to its Prime Instant Video subscription service that comes bundled with the Amazon tablet.
The trend is becoming so pronounced that some analysts are speculating that content service providers will need to start building their own hardware to remain competitive. Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan, for instance, makes the case of aÂ Yahoo-branded TVÂ in the current issue of Ad Age.Â Conversely, Brian Lowry of Variety wonders whether even Apple can remain competitive without its own subscription-based iContent services.
Here’s our prediction: The new Microsoft Surface tablets will come bundled with Xbox Live, giving the tablets their own, closely linked content service and taking the highly popular Xbox Live platform beyond the game console.