With Samsung rolling out new ways to create apps, Karl Quigley looks at what this means for the company’s future
Samsung has held its first ever developers’ conference in San Francisco, taking place from October 27th to the 29th, and it can easily be argued that the main reason for the conference was to bring Samsung into the heavyweight league for smart devices.
The company can make accepted claims to being one of the most important vendors in the mobile market as, according to David Eun, Executive Vice President for Samsung’s Open Innovation Centre, the company currently ships upwards of one million devices each day, every day of the week.
With their first developers’ conference, we see that Samsung is pushing to extend its reach from just phones. Samsung obviously sees televisions as central to the experience of integrated mobile and home devices. Eun claimed that Samsung has been leading the smart TV market since they first debuted models in 2007. The biggest news that emphasises this is Samsung’s announcement of their five new software development kits, abbreviated to SDKs.
The most impressive of these kits is the Multiscreen SDK, which allows users to share content across multiple Samsung devices using their new Cloud-based publishing service. These toolkits will allow developers to create their own applications and entertainment software that can be shared and used across multiple Samsung devices. The multiscreen SDK also allows for one-touch discovery and paring across devices, allowing for easy sharing between various gadgets.
Excitingly for gamers, as an extension of the multiscreen kit, Samsung paired with Unity Technologies to create the Multiscreen Gaming SDK. This allows for gaming on any TV, with the use of a Samsung phone or tablet. The Samsung gamepad attachment was shown with this new kit and David Helgason, CEO of Unity, claimed, “We take the very best of what Unity is, and combine it with the best of what Samsung has to offer.”
Samsung has introduced new phone SDKs, which will improve the current handsets. Other kits offer precise S-Pen controls that will allow for smooth and seamless handwriting recognition and a multi-window capability, which lets the user run several apps simultaneously by shrinking and inflating apps on screen. This particular feature was shown off with the use of the Twitter application while simultaneously browsing the web.
Another brand new feature was the Samsung Chord, which promises peer-to-peer connections across Samsung devices. This feature was even demonstrated as two tablets playing air-hockey were ‘pinched’ together to instantly allow them to play a joint game.
Back with Samsung’s smart TV, a revised 5.0 Smart TV SDK was revealed. It has been optimised for the brand new multiscreen function, but also allows for new features such as playing music from your phone directly to your home entertainment system.
Smart TV 5.0 also showed support for closed captioning of video apps and an overall improvement in its search engine. “The question everyone is asking is what is the next big thing for developers,” said Juan Pablo Gnecco, senior director of Samsung’s Media Solution Center America during the presentation at the conference. “The answer is TV. But TV is not alone. Today the living room is full of devices, it’s truly multiscreen.”
The streamlined approach that Samsung is taking, such as secure apps that improve the bring-your-own-device trend in a workplace, is largely due to Injong Rhee, Senior Vice President of Samsung’s mobile communications business, who claims that the enterprise mobility market will grow about three or four times faster than the consumer market. This means a huge opportunity for device manufacturers such as Samsung.
Undoubtedly, Samsung is pushing to compete with Apple as the world of mobile smart devices becomes more complex and more popular. Samsung already leads in the entertainment market, and is easily a top contender for smart phones and tablets. With this push and brand new introduction of developer kits, Samsung could well break through the steel grip that Apple has with its ‘App Store’ and consumer market, and finally trump its largest competitor.