South Korean vendor Samsung was in Silicon Valley this week to promote its fledgling apps proposition for Internet-connected TVs to prospective developers. The vendor is pushing its new app platform – known as Samsung Apps – for its new range of connected TVs and Blu-ray players as part of a wider strategy to offer apps that work across multiple device types.
Samsung currently has around 88 apps available on the TV platform from the likes of Facebook, Google Maps, Skype Blockbuster, YouTube and Netflix – many of which come preloaded with the equipment. However, the vendor announced this week it is opening up the platform to third-party developers and has set a target of hosting around 200 apps by year-end. To support this latest drive, Samsung recently announced the availability of the Samsung TV Application software development kit (SDK), and has also launched a competition – the ‘Free the TV Challenge’ – offering developers US$500,000 in cash and prizes for the best new app created for the platform.
The vendor said this week that Samsung Apps is available on the majority of its TVs with a 40-inch screen or larger – and all of its new Blu-ray players and home theatre systems. Many rivals are doing the same. Forrester forecasts that some 43 million US households will have at least one Internet-enabled TV by 2015, up from just 2 million currently.
Many Internet giants are already targeting this fast-growing segment. Yahoo was among the first to launch app widgets for connected TVs, and Samsung used the Yahoo platform in its earlier TV Internet service – known as Internet@TV – prior to launching its own platform. Google, meanwhile, is thought to be working on bringing its Android smartphone platform – and Android Market application store – to TVs made by the likes of Sony, while Apple is also looking to deliver apps directly to TVs via its Apple TV service.
But Samsung is hoping its position as a major manufacturer of both TVs and smartphones will allow it to deliver apps across both device-types, potentially giving it advantage over rival offerings. Although the vendor has its own smartphone apps store, many of its flagship devices – notably the Galaxy S – offer apps via third-party stores such as Android Market.