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How Samsung will convert you to its mobile app theology

Florence Ion | Nov. 1, 2013
Samsung is serious about building its own full-fledged app ecosystem, a marketplace it wants you to visit before you drop into Google Play

Don't be alarmed. Samsung's leadership is launching a religious movement, but its goal isn't to change everything you believe about good, evil or the meaning of life. It simply wants control of all your mobile platform needs.

It's an ambitious plan, and Samsung needs true believers--an army of street soldiers who can evangelize the mission, and indoctrinate new converts. The company began assembling the ranks when it introduced Samsung Apps, its own Android app store, with the release of the Galaxy S4 smartphone earlier this year. And to further increase its headcount, the company held its first annual Samsung Developers Conference this week in San Francisco to entice start-ups and indie developers to build apps specifically for Samsung devices.

The goal wasn't just to evangelize and showcase what the company has accomplished with its partnerships, but also to demonstrate that Samsung is serious about building its own full-fledged app ecosystem—a marketplace it wants you to visit before you drop into Google Play.

The world has gone app store crazy, and Samsung would be damned if it has to play second fiddle to anyone. And it really doesn't have to, since it already has a solid hardware foundation built on every imaginable phone and tablet screen size from the 4.3-inch Galaxy S4 Mini to the 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega to the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note 10.1. At this point, Samsung really only needs to increase its flock of developers.

Hence the recruiting drive at the Samsung Developers Conference. It's the one true path to mobile salvation.

Enticing devs with carrots
In its conference keynote, Samsung hit developers with two compelling arguments in support of native app development: The company has tremendous reach around the world, including footholds in China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Australia, and it's also the number one smartphone maker in most of those markets.

The message resonated with Matt Nutt, VP of Business Development and Operations of Cie Games, an independent mobile game company that was featured as a part of an introductory video during the keynote. "They do have many devices, but they're doing a lot to reduce the fragmentation of devices in terms of share on the Android marketplace," Nutt told TechHive. "[We can't ignore] any opportunities to leverage the marketing prowess of somebody like Samsung."

But before you can get developers to populate your app store, you have to give them something to work with. So during its keynote, Samsung introduced five new APIs. These include a multi-screen gaming API that puts mobile games on TV screens; a Smart TV SDK that helps share mobile device content with Samsung TVs; and an SDK that supports more S-Pen controls, better handwriting recognition, and an improved multi-window feature.


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