Motorola, HTC in the hunt to be Android’s answer to iTunes

At a time when speculation that both Google and Apple are preparing to launch cloud-based music services is rife, Motorola Mobility Ventures has announced the investment of an unspecified sum into Catch Media, a cloud-based content delivery service that last year, was rumoured to be part of Google’s plans to take on Apple in the online music space.

Catch Media offers a registry, tracking, routing and clearinghouse technology that allows digital content to be accessed from pretty much any device – from smartphones to televisions – while ensuring that all players involved in the making and delivery of the content get their share of the revenues.

Its Play Anywhere platform was rolled out as “Music Anywhere” through the UK’s Carphone Warehouse last year and is expected to launch, in co-operation with the music industry, in the US this year. The idea is that users can access media from any vendor through a digital media locker in much the same way people draw money using an ATM.

Motorola’s move comes shortly after its recent acquisition of cloud-based Dropbox-style company Zecter, suggesting that a long-anticipated Android rival for iTunes is in the offing. As competition heats up in the smartphone market, Motorola is only the latest to nail its digital content colours to the mast: In early February, HTC announced its acquisition of UK mobile video setup Saffron Digital and online gaming company Onlive, suggesting its strategy is moving in a similar direction on the digital content front. Saffron Digital counts Nokia, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile and Paramount Entertainment among its customers. Apple, meanwhile, is rumoured to be close to launching a digital media locker for iPads, iPhones, iPods and its Mac computers.

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