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Apple's Siri chief now building connected device platform at Samsung

James Niccolai | Nov. 11, 2013
The engineer who oversaw development of Apple's Siri technology is now at Samsung building an online service for linking together the "Internet of things."

In a brief interview, Julia acknowledged some of the challenges SAMI faces. Chief among them, Samsung is a hardware company with little experience in developing online services, and its bitter rivalry with Apple would almost certainly preclude the iPhone maker from ever joining the same platform.

"It's something Samsung doesn't know very well today, because Samsung is a hardware company. But we want to enter the space, and offer something different from iCloud," he said.

If other companies don't trust Samsung to operate the platform itself, because it competes with many of the device makers that Samsung hopes will jump on board, another company might host the service, he said.

Samsung is working with about 50 partners to develop and test SAMI, he said. They include Fitbit, smartwatch maker Pebble, Withings, which made the scales, and Vital Connect, which made the heart monitor. The Menlo Park lab also has a US$100 million, three-year fund to invest in companies developing technologies that could support the effort, he said.

Samsung started work on the platform about six months ago, and Julia emphasized it's in its early stages. The Menlo Park lab typically works on "three- to-five-year projects," he said.

"You'll be able to play around with it when Samsung thinks it's ready for people to see it," Julia said.

 

 

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