Samsung kicked off its first Developer Conference in San Francisco today, and the Korean tech juggernaut is eager to show just how much it cares about the devs building apps and services for its hardware ecosystem. And really, what better way to prove it than to unleash five (yes, five) brand-new SDKs for those developers to sink their teeth into?
“We have products at every segment and every price point,” said Gregory Lee, president of Samsung Telecommunications America, in his DevCon keynote. “Your applications, your work can be reached all over the world and across all those products.”
As you can imagine, there’s plenty to dig into here, but some of these development toolsets are more straightforward than others. Samsung’s revamped Mobile SDK, for instance, consolidates a handful of existing Samsung mobile dev tools so coders and engineers can more easily create apps that take advantage of the company’s S Pen, gesture controls, and audio features (to name just a few). And the Smart TV 5.0 SDK does exactly what it promises, allowing developers to build apps for Samsung’s connected televisions, with a big focus on optimizing those apps for the company’s 2014 class of displays.
And considering the general market zeal for devices that connect and interact with each other, it should surprise absolutely no one that Samsung is trying to drive home the value of its vast portfolio of gadgetry by giving devs a way to make all of it play nice together. Consider its new Multiscreen SDK, which packs APIs that should ultimately allow users to quickly sync up smartphones and screens for simple media sharing across displays — GigaOm’s Janko Roettgers has a great take on it here.
Built on top of that is a Multiscreen Gaming SDK which Samsung developed in tandem with Unity. It’ll allow developers to craft games that functionally turn Samsung smartphones into consoles that output all the action to (what else) a connected Samsung TV. Throw in a new Knox SDK meant to help developers build secure, enterprise-friendly apps that can silo work information from personal data and you’ve got a pretty well-rounded slew of tools for coders and entrepreneurs.
Now the general thrust of these releases is to get people more invested into Samsung’s hardware web, and naturally the most prominent vector is Samsung’s huge portfolio of smartphones. You can’t really overstate the importance of smart software to Samsung’s mobile strategy. In a market where nearly every OEM is trying to push the limits of hardware innovation in parallel, fleshing out the all-important software user experience is crucial to gaining an edge over a pack of hungry competitors.
And like it or not, Samsung is damned good at loading up its devices with software. Some (myself included) would argue, though, that the company has a tendency to go overboard. There’s a distinct subsection of the Android community that prefers their Android builds to be as clean and as free of cruft as possible, but there are plenty of others who love to lord their whiz-bang features over others. But it has become clearer than ever that Samsung is using its mobile gadgetry as a Trojan Horse to make developers aware of and get them excited about the full breadth of Samsung’s hardware. Now the big question is how many developers will rise to Samsung’s challenge.