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

Samsung has hosted a developers conference in San Francisco for the past two days, in order to court developers to the Samsung ecosystem. What's Samsung trying to gain from all of this? Read on to find out!
October 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?