Samsung has snapped up another startup to bolster its multiscreen efforts: The company has acquired the team behind Plair, an Android-based streaming stick that at one point tried to take on Chromecast. Plair just announced the acquisition, which quietly happened earlier this year, on its website:
[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”For almost 4 years we put our blood, sweat and tears into changing the way people watch TV. (…) As much as we enjoyed this journey, now it is time to move on to the next thing. Our team has decided to move to Samsung to help them build the future of multi-screen technology.”[/blockquote]
It seems like this was a typical acquihire, with Samsung being primarily interested in Plair’s team, and not the company’s technology. I’m hearing that a handful of engineers made its way to Samsung, but company president and CEO Saad Hussain seems to have moved on.
Plair was an early entrant in the streaming stick market. The startup launched an HDMI stick capable of receiving video from a smartphone or laptop in early 2013, but the first device was plagued by technical challenges as well as a high price: Plair tried to sell the stick for $99, only to see Google introduce its much more capable $35 streaming stick a few months later.
Plair tried one more time in late 2013 with a second version of its adapter that came with pre-installed Android apps, but the company simply couldn’t compete with the likes of Google, Roku and now Amazon in the streaming stick race.
At Samsung, the Plair team is working on the company’s multiscreen SDK, which is largely based on another acquisition: Samsung acquired mutliscreen startup MOVL in May of 2013, and has since launched its own mutliscreen SDK based on MOVL’s technology.
Plair raised a total of $3.7 million from investors including Floodgate Fund and Elevation Partners.
For a glimpse at Plair’s technology, check out this review: