Synacor Targets App Economy With Carbyn's HTML5 System

Synacor, a provider of Web portal and TV Everywhere solutions, is promising to make it easier for cable operators, content owners and others to publish device-independent apps with an upcoming platform based on the HTML5 standard.

The company's HTML5 strategy is based on technology it obtained with the $1.1 million acquisition of eight-person Canadian startup Carbyn in January. The idea: to help deliver a unified experience for apps across Internet-connected devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and connected TVs without having to tailor discrete apps for each individual device type.

"With Carbyn, you develop one HTML5 app and that can live inside one platform," said Jaafer Haidar, formerly Carbyn's co-founder and CEO and who is now vice president of mobile for Synacor.

Synacor is initially approaching existing customers, including Verizon Communications, Charter Communications and CenturyLink, about the HTML5 offering.

The company plans to show off the Carbyn system at the 2012 Cable Show in Boston next month and is aiming to launch it commercially by the end of 2012. The pricing model for the hosted HTML5 app service has yet to be determined, Haidar said. It could be based on search and advertising revenue, or based on number of active users.

Apps that can run on the Carbyn platform include self-service apps for MSOs that provide "my account" features, bill payment, DVR management, voicemail and other functions, or a range of apps developed by programmers to deliver content, Haidar said. The Carbyn system's features include push notifications and app-to-app communications, and Synacor plans to publish application programming interfaces (APIs) to let third-party developers can take advantage of it.

"The base value of this platform is, we can deliver apps and content to your consumers across any HTML5 device," Haidar said. "Everybody shares the need to become device-agnostic."

The Carbyn platform is a completely hosted in "the cloud," meaning it is delivered as a service over the Internet. Synacor said it is integrating Carbyn's technology with its own platform to offer next-gen converged services to broadband, cable, satellite, IPTV and consumer electronics companies.

"Through our acquisition of Carbyn, Synacor is extending our platform to more devices and more screens than ever before. Now our customers can build apps once, yet have their consumers enjoy them across all connected devices," Synacor CEO Ron Frankel said in a statement.

Buffalo, N.Y.-based Synacor went public in February, raising $23.3 million after the company had previously anticipated raising up to $75 million.

Synacor stock closed at $8.29 per share Monday, up 66% from its opening IPO price of $5 per share on Feb. 10. The company expects revenue to grow 33% to 36% this year, it said last month.

Synacor disclosed the Carbyn acquisition in its S-1 filing in January. Carbyn, which was based in London, Ontario, Canada, was founded in November 2010.