Cox Communications has launched a personal media management service in California that lets customers store digital pictures, video, music and documents in the proverbial cloud and share and sync access of those files with authorized PCs and Android and iOS devices.
Taking a page from similar cloud storage services such as Box and Dropbox, Cox’s new offering, called myflare, also lets users share content securely with family and friends. It was not immediately known if Cox developed myflare entirely in-house or if it has rebranded a service from a third-party provider. Cox’s business services arm offers an online backup and file syncing service in partnership with Mozy.
Update: A Cox spokesman confirmed that the operator is "using some third party partners" to assist in areas such as hosting and software, but declined to name them.
Cox's service, marketed under the tagline of “Simplify, Sync and Socialize,” starts at $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year for 25 Gigabytes of storage. Higher end tiers run $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year for 100 GB, or $21.99 per month and $199.99 per year for 250 GB. According to marketing materials set to appear in Cox’s California markets this week, the MSO is also pitching an iOS-only promo that pitches 1 GB of storage for $1.49 per month.
Cox is offering a free, 30-day trial to all new myflair customers, who will be filled separately via a credit card when monthly charges start to apply. Cloud-based storage represents another potential recurring revenue stream for cable broadband service providers.
By way of comparison, Dropbox offers a free 2 GB tier, with “Pro” plans starting at $9.99 per month for 100 GB of storage. Box offers up to 5 GB for free, with subscription plans starting at $9.99 per month for 25 GB.
The launch of the myflare service in California follows a trial conducted in the market during the fourth quarter of 2012. Cox intends to launch the product in additional markets at a later date, a Cox spokesman said via e-mail.
“We will also trial and/or launch other cloud-based services under the Flare brand in the future as we continue to explore new ways to help customers connect to the things they care about,” he added.
What else Cox might have in mind was referenced in its February 12 filing for trademark protection on “Flare” and “My Flare.” Both terms cover “provision of telecommunication access to video, music, games and audio content provided via video-on-demand, interactive television, pay-per-view and pay television subscription services; streaming of video and audio content via the Internet and other electronic communications networks” as well as “computer services, namely, cloud storage services.”