Samsung Wants to Go Deep Into Apps
SAN FRANCISCO -- Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) claims to have all this cool hardware on the Galaxy S. Now it's eager to enlist application developers to help show off the phone while also giving Samsung a way to stand out. (See Samsung Bets on Hardware.)
Omar Khan, Samsung's chief strategy officer, brought up the point here at MobileBeat Monday afternoon, during his keynote on the future of smartphones -- or "superphones," as everyone at the conference has, sadly, taken to calling them.
One of his points was that the core mobile applications that users turn to most often tend to be lookalike Web applications -- ESPN and The Weather Channel, for instance. Someone buying a smartphone isn't going to gravitate towards a brand like Samsung's just to get ESPN.
But they might go to Samsung if the Android-based Galaxy S gets a reputation, say, for intense gaming graphics taking advantage of the Super AMOLED display (which was a big part of Samsung's big, loud Galaxy S launch a couple of weeks ago). (See Samsung's US Galaxy Quest.)
One answer, then, would be to work with developers, letting them best take advantage of the AMOLED screens, or the massive, iPhone-like processing power. (See Samsung Shares Apple Core.)
Some analysts have suggested that hardware features like these are nice to have for Samsung, but that it's challenging for apps developers to tailor their apps to specific hardware developments -- a process Samsung would like to make easier. (See Android Gains Apps Developer Love.) What's in it for Samsung is, obviously, a proprietary app that shows off the supposed total awesomeness of its phones. And the app vendor, theoretically, would end up with a unique product that's easy to get people to pay for. It's not much different from the way game-console vendors court games developers to write something platform-specific.
But there's more to it than that. Application developers need ways to grab users' attention. With all the applications users are downloading, only a few get used every day, and they tend to be the same Web applications they use on desktops -- ESPN or The Weather Channel, for instance.
"While the breadth of the applications out there is tremendous, the usage that's occurring is limited to a very small set of applications," said Khan.
What kinds of special applications does Samsung have in mind? One example would be Media Hub, a yet-unreleased app to put videos onto the Galaxy S, presumably taking advantage of the AMOLED screen. Khan also promises that advanced, super-cool games will be showing up on the devices.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading