This afternoon Samsung jumped on the application bandwagon with the launch of Samsung Apps, an application store to serve Samsung’s diverse array of devices. Claiming to be the first to launch an app store for multiple platforms, the consumer electronics manufacturer debuted Samsung Apps at CES 2010. Samsung tosses its hat into an already crowded space for application developers as the unprecedented success of the iTunes App Store has inspired many imitators. While the company’s entry into the space is unsurprising as Samsung commands 23.1% of the US mobile phone market, the announcement is potentially disruptive given Samsung’s dominance in other product areas – especially the living room.
Details for Samsung Apps were light. No word on technical specifics on Samsung’s SDK beyond the promise that it will be "open for all." The count of applications available at launch was described nebulously as "dozens." Premium apps are unavailable at launch, slated for availability "this summer." And the demonstration of apps in action consisted solely of screenshots. But while details of Samsung’s ambitious application initiative were scant and most of what was showcased was promise, Samsung Apps will be one of the big splashes of CES.
Here are a few reasons why:
From a review of the concurrently launched website, Samsung Apps promises to be the first app store available for multiple cell phone platforms. Supporting Symbian, Windows and Samsung’s proprietary bada platforms, Samsung Apps will be the first app store not designed for a single OS.
While Apple, Palm and Microsoft keep their apps in silos, Samsung will have the unique ability of selling to customers across multiple carriers and multiple platforms.
2) Most TVs Connected To The Internet Belong To Samsung
At CES last year, Samsung lead the television space with announcing a full lineup of "connected TVs" – televisions intended to be connected to the Internet. Being the first to move into the space netted big results in 2009 with the company claiming over 75% market share for connected televisions.
Such a number is certainly suspicious without data, but there is little doubt that Samsung sells more connected televisions than anyone else. The headstart is a big advantage as other electronics manufacturers begin to support upstart software plays like Boxee and Vudu and cable carriers produce smarter set-top boxes.
3) One Manufacturer For Your Digital Life
Apple’s dominance in the smart phone market was so fast it astonished even themselves and only really turned on with the release of the iTunes App Store a year after the first iPhone was released. Now over 100,000 apps and three billion downloads later, apps can clearly be identified as the primary driver of the iPhone’s success.
Introducing that same ecosystem to a electronics manufacturer that sold $110 billion in devices for home, mobile and computing in 2009 could be even more successful. If Samsung Apps are as interoperable as implied, the application craze has only just begun. The ability to write one app that will work on Samsung phones, televisions, MP3 players, digital cameras, laptops, netbooks and eBooks could send developers into a frenzy.
The potential for Samsung Apps to engage developers was smugly summed up by Samsung’s President of North America Tim Baxter who said, "If you were excited as a developer to make an app for a 3.5 inch screen, I have a 55-inch 3D LED TV I would love to show you."