Why Samsung is so vigorously courting developers, and what it has to gain

by: Adam KoueiderOctober 29, 2013

Samsung Logo

If you didn’t know by now, Samsung has been hosting a developers conference in San Francisco for the past two days and with the event ending today it’s time to reflect as to why Samsung is courting developers.

Is Samsung attempting to create an ecosystem that rivals Google’s or is it just trying to differentiate itself from the rest of the Android OEMs?

Trying to connect the dots

It's all about connecting your products and platforms into one multi-pronged, but still cohesive ecosystem.

We’ve heard a lot about companies in the mobile sector trying to connect their products into one multi-pronged, but still cohesive ecosystem. Apple has done this exceedingly well, making it very difficult for users to leave its ecosystem once they’ve invested in it.

The biggest criticism of Google was that its services were not tightly integrated with each other and Google has been working hard to rectify this problem.

Sony also bandied about the hashtag “#bestofsony” when promoting the Sony Xperia Z1, trying to market the Xperia Z1 as the convergence of all of Sony’s best technology in smartphones, cameras and televisions.

Samsung offers a myriad of products to consumers including home appliances, Smart TVs, Blu-Ray players, smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. Samsung also offers its own app store as well as alternative apps to almost every Google application that comes with Google Play-approved Android smartphones and tablets.

samsung galaxy s3 note 2 note 10.1 camera aa 2 1600

Unfortunately for Samsung its mobile applications are often a few steps behind Google’s variants and the attempts to connect its mobile devices with its Smart TVs and other products have often resulted in clunky and unintuitive efforts.

So how does Samsung, a company mostly known for its hardware efforts, improve on the software front?

To acquire or to attract?

Hardware companies have often struggled to make the step towards integrating software tightly. The easiest way for hardware companies to get in on the software game is to acquire software applications and/or teams.

The easiest way for hardware companies to get in on the software game is to acquire software applications and/or teams.

Apple is probably the most famous example of this occurrence. Apple has acquired Siri, and Emagic (the original developers of Logic Pro) in order to improve its software offerings, and even then, Apple has never been the best at application and software development, and its recent attempt at its own mapping application highlighted this when it was released with lots of bugs and issues.

Samsung has been steadily building its software additions on mobile devices, offering its own app store to rival the Play Store on its Android smartphones and tablets.

Samsung and google

Samsung’s alternatives to Google apps. Image credit: Ars Technica

At Samsung DevCon, Samsung has launched several SDKs in order to make it easier for developers to create applications that work with the Samsung S-Pen, and gesture controls as well as the Samsung Smart TVs in order to easily screencast from a Samsung smartphone.

Samsung also unveiled a Multi Screen Gaming SDK to allow developers to create games which can allow users to sync their phones with their TVs to create a big screen gaming experience.

Wrap up

Samsung is clearly looking to rival Apple and Google (who, by the way, also have developer conferences in Google I/O and Apple WWDC), in offering a tightly integrated user experience where Samsung products become the hub of people’s lives rather than gateways to other ecosystems.

Samsung wants to become the central hub of people's lives, rather than gateways to other ecosystems.

Samsung DevCon is the first major step in Samsung’s attempt to create an ecosystem which ties in all of the software applications and hardware products that Samsung offers, and whether users like it or not, Samsung is going to be pushing forward with its attempt to tie people into its ecosystem.

This isn’t necessarily bad of course, and it will mean a better user experience for those who embrace Samsung’s ecosystem, but others won’t be too pleased.

Do you prefer a single, well integrated ecosystem or do you like to use products from different ecosystems?

  • cycad007

    I can’t wait to watch you fail, Samsung! You can’t compete with Google. :D

    • dandroid13

      BTW, why so much hating? Haha

      • MasterMuffin

        Because it’s cool to hate Samsung. Samsung → new Apple

        • Adrian Remus

          I hated Samsung before it was cool! To be more precise, after buying my Samsung D600.

          • MasterMuffin

            Hipster :D

        • Mohammed Azoz

          so true …. following apple’s way completely the same …. even with apple’s mistakes >_<

        • Jaun Lombard

          haha I lov people! i hate Samsung…but will still buy their products…especially their TVs…I am actually buying one of their washing mashines next month because its the best one in its class! I am also waiting for the next S5! I dont think the integration is the same as Apple…Apple locks you in…Samsung gives you a choice. Google might offer the same services, but Samsung’s software is made specifically for Samsung products!

        • Bryan Z

          I for a change would really like to see Tizen enjoy some kind of success here in the US… I’m almost getting tired of having to choose between Android or IOS

          • MasterMuffin

            Windows Phone!

          • Bryan Z

            I wonder why i completely forgot about that… :)

          • MasterMuffin

            It has its downsides, but WP9 is going to be designed by Jony Ive and it’s going to be mind blowing! ;D

          • Bryan Z

            Thank god I can’t wait to start using IE again. :-P

          • MasterMuffin

            Damn I forgot about that! Don’t use internet? :)

          • APai

            hell freezes over :) devil shifts permanently to redmond. elop’s there too! :D

          • Jesse Afolabi

            ….and windows phone :P

    • adam evans

      totally wont work!! google is already ahead of you and pulling API’s into play services so they can make OEM’s do as their told!

  • dandroid13

    If they keep running Android instead of forking it like Amazon, they will still crush the competition.

    • Bryan Z

      Tizen won’t be ready for at least 2 years… and by then who knows what kind of moves Google will make regarding Android/Chrome OS

  • Brandon Miranda

    Maybe it’s all for Tizen. Samsungs own OS. Maybe there trying to make alternatives so they’ll be ready by the time they decide to replace android on their devices with Tizen.

  • Gogue

    Couple of months ago I changed from HTC and bought my first Samsung, an S4 active and I like it but if Samsung is trying to replace Android with their own OS then this will be my first and only Samsung device.

  • aznmode1

    I think this is good idea specially if you own other samsung products like their smart TV. But it isn’t necessarily a bad thing since you still have comparable android app you can run on the samsung phones to use on non samsung products. More options is always better for us consumers.

  • John Locke

    Ditching Android would be disastrous Samsung.

    • Adrian Remus

      Is this AndroidAuthority or SamsungAuthority?

      • John Locke

        This is WPCentral! And omg, some idiot keeps and downvoting me wherever I go :(

        • Adrian Remus

          Why do you bother with votes? Btw, there are 50 comments between us on gsmarena :D

          • John Locke

            I was hoping you wouldn’t notice that! And I’m now a top commenter on Pocket Now! Also 10 comments away from being one in Android Authority.

            Anyway, I’m going to ignore that pathetic low life that’s downvoting me.

          • Adrian Remus

            I upvoted you to balance things :D.
            You said earlier that you can see who is the most upvoted person on a website. If yes, where do you see that?

          • John Locke

            Oh I responded on GSMArena… What are your thoughts on Samsung abandoning Android?

          • Adrian Remus

            They will never do that. Why would they do it? Being the king of android is pretty good for their pockets, right?

          • John Locke

            To be independent of Google and earn money from services. They probably think they can do it, but I don’t.

          • Bryan Z

            I think Tizen would make a lot of sense if they position it right, I mean they would have to have the same integration that IOS has with OSX and I think that’s what they want. If they make Tizen integrate nicely with Chrome OS, that would be something. But at the moment or for the next 2 years for that matter I don’t think they can pull it off, I up voted you btw ;)

      • Richard Sequeira

        No! No! No! You got it all wrong! It’s TizenAuthority, keeping all things Tizen.

    • Jaun Lombard

      Samsung wont ditch Android….their VP said they will offer what their customers want…hence Windows and Android…PLUS Samsung wants an Ecosystem on ALL their products…Android cannot offer that at the moment!

  • kid_352003

    “pick me pick me pick me” I love choice but it seem Samsung is taking that away. I see the change already with the Note 3 where the Note 2 I could disable some of Samsung apps, not anymore. Something simple as calendar, where I use Google Calendar I can’t disable Samsung’s so I can stop getting double notifications. Feeling Samsung wants to be the new friuttopia…..Stop force feeding me.

    • Adam Koueider

      Apps > Samsung Calendar > Uncheck show notifications > Your welcome :)

      • kid_352003

        Thanks, have any help on accepting appointments? Always jump right to the Samsung calendar. I want to choose a default calendar but it doesn’t give the option.

        • Adam Koueider

          Not sure how Samsung is doing it now (my last Samsung phone was the GS3), however, it should be just Apps > Samsung Calendar > Clear defaults.

          And then the next time you click on an appointment it should ask as to which app you’d like to use. Never tried that though so I’m not a 100% sure.

  • MasterMuffin

    People we’re talking about apps here, not Tizen. Samsung isn’t just going to ditch Android and go with Tizen, they aren’t that stupid. End of discussion and back to topic: funny how only Samsung’s Gapps substitutes that I use are their calendar and email even though I’ve been a Samsung owner since I moved to Android a long time ago! They just aren’t that good

    • kid_352003

      Creating their own ecosystem pushes them closer to Tizen. If you depend on all of their apps that mirrors Google why in the hell would you care what operating system your using. Note 4 running Tizen wouldn’t affect sales if it still did all the things the Note do now. It just wouldn’t have Google Play Store and some of Google apps which are all cloud base so all you would need is internet to get to them.

      • MasterMuffin

        It wouldn’t have Play Store → -700000 less apps. All the reviewers will go crazy and write that fact in bold just like they do with every WP device review and that makes users scared. I guess with Samsung’s advertising they could trick many people (and some, like you said, would go even without tricking) but Note 4 would probably be too soon. It’s just not a good move yet

        • kid_352003

          The reason for their developer convention is to get everyone onboard. Fact in bold is that Samsung sells the most android devices and could take a chunk of users and developers right out of Google hands. Of course we are talking normal consumers who don’t read these blogs and buy what’s hot. Right now that’s Samsung anything including this SamCrap Gear I have that should be called Samsung Notifier. Ding.. you have an email sorry you can’t read it…Ding.. you have a tweet sorry you can’t read it.

          • MasterMuffin

            Smartwatches are the most pointless things in the world (after this thingy in the picture)

      • John Locke

        I don’t think a Tizen Note 4 will sell as well as an Android Note 4 even with good marketing. You got to look at Windows Phone – billions spent on marketing and a strong brand (Nokia) yet sales have been mediocre and mostly low end. Consumers will notice the lack of apps on an expensive phone like the Note, even if Sammy emulates the Google features. If they sneak Tizen into a low end device it might work though.

        • frankie

          or if they really want to push tizen while testing how it might sell, they can always manufacture more android note 4’s than tizen note 4’s (assuming they will have a note 4 in the future) and see how it fares…

        • Bryan Z

          I personally would like to see Tizen being marketed heavily in the US for a change as much as I enjoy Android and IOS there should be a least 3 mayor mobile operating systems I think samsung has a shot at it but they aren’t ready yet.

    • NeedName

      Samsung, generally speaking, sucks at software. . . seems somewhat endemic for Korean companies to suck at software. One reason I stay away from anything that needs long term software updates from them or LG. A Nexus by either is fine, but no thanks to their software experience. . .

      • marhensa

        NEXUS softwares and apps comes from Google not LG.

        • NeedName

          reading comprehension fail. . . .

          That’s why I say, “A Nexus by either is fine, but no thanks to their software experience.” “their” implies the software written by LG or Samsung, thus a Nexus being OK implies that the software was not written by them. . .. arrrggggg

    • Jaun Lombard

      I use their email because it is easier to use and their calender looks way better than Googles. Plus I use the Samsung Music player, because Google’s music player crashes the whole time!

  • NeedName

    One of THE main apps people want on their Android device is Google Maps, and I don’t see anyone replacing that any time soon — just ask apple about that. However, making devices work better together would be wise, though I wish it would be through standards instead of each company’s own proprietary junk.

  • ongboy

    note 3 have games and download moive payer many problem but now
    not yet update pls do fast cant wait ?

  • johnny boy

    first off. samsungs tizen O.S won’t make any true impact on the mobile market becuase its not an established os like we see with android and ios. Microsoft has been trying to break into a market which it didn’t realize was a true money generator until it was too late, and tell me how many phones we see out there that are microsoft phones..?? . Tizens only real reason for being is that it can run googles os apps so lets call it {piggy backing on android technology}.. apart from that Samsung has not shown why its a better alternative to the top two competitors. Moving along to market cap. samsung has become a power in this field only becuase they have taken an os and have shown that they believe in it and to switch now or to try and compete would only piss of all the minions of buyers that have bought into the alternative brand and os that android is.Almost half of the money generated by samsung corp is now tied to the electronics market and 80% of that is Android branded phones. 3. they move away from this methodology and samsung will be back at square one trying to do it on their own and hoping for a shot at stardum I think Samungs reason for this developer conference to me sounds like a call for creativity not in the smart phone but in accessories .. bluetooth enabled everything . wireless this and that and if its electronic or runs with electricity then why can’t it be controlled via a smart phone I want to be able to flush my toilet if i forgot get to it Samsung> and if samsung really is thinking along this line true 22 century tech is upon us.. Nontheless samsung is already in bed with the queen {android}and stopping this now would be like going to bed with the mistress {tizen} and the queen knowing about it..

  • H5ire

    Shamesung – Copying stuff from all around the world.. ( Google, Apple.. and lots more is coming.. :)

    • Bryan Z

      you forgot dyson …

  • Cotomeo

    They really want to be the new Apple…

  • VJ

    I think Samsung is a bit worried about the Google – Motorola initiatives.

    Google with its Motorola line-up and Nexus line-up is soon expected to capture a chunk of market share.

    • Bryan Z

      that’s interesting, I think so too. I mean it’d be much easier for google to make integrate devices (android/chrome os) than it would be for samsung.

  • Kenne Phimmasonsouk

    Tizen looks hideous. Love Samsung phones, i have the gs4 but will probably get something with more of an android feel, when I get my next phone. With the openness of android and basically doing whatever you want to do with it and basically use it as a computer in your hands its hard to go back to anything else. I tried apple again but it wasn’t able to do anything android can. But tizen will be based off Linux so that might be a developers dream phone.

  • Jesse Afolabi

    Samsung might just break free some day…and not be ever dependent on Google

  • jamesinkorea

    Samsung + Software = Scatterbrain

  • SHER W

    Make sure its as freemium as Android and I’m OK with it.