Samsung Announces Free the TV Challenge 2011: May the Best Converged Apps Win

written by: Richard Kastelein

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After writing about Samsung and their TV App developer contests over the years -  more than most - Samsung has now come out with new contest for 2011.

The new Free the TV challenge is designed to celebrate the recent release of version 2.5 of Samsung's Software Development Kit (SDK 2.5), create excitement among developers and showcase Samsung's unique ecosystem, which allows developers to create an entirely new category of "Converged Apps" - apps that work across multiple screens, running on both the TV and another device such as a phone, tablet or computer - to create new experiences for consumers.

The winner of last year's Challenge — MOVL's WeDraw — represents a perfect example of Converged Apps. By simply installing the WeDraw app on both a Samsung TV and any iOS or Android phone or tablet, users can use the handheld device to draw pictures that appear in real time on the TV. Other players then race to guess the word by typing their guesses into their phones.

"Samsung Apps has become the most popular TV Apps platform in the industry, with more than 900 apps available worldwide and nearly 10 million downloads to date," said Eric Anderson, VP of Content for Samsung Electronics America. "In addition, our Galaxy mobile phones and tablets have also been incredibly well received. The time is right to bring these devices together with Converged Apps. I'm excited and energized to see what creative ideas our developer community will come up with."

There are three categories of Converged Apps that Samsung is encouraging developers to explore:

  1. Controller Apps - These Apps enable a second device to control an App on the TV, thus providing touch or mouse input and interactivity that a standard remote control cannot.
  2. Companion Apps - These Apps use a second device to provide additional information (including via web sites and social media sites) that is synchronized to, and supplements, what is shown on the TV itself.
  3. Interactive Apps - These Apps allow the user to use a second device as a secondary display. For example, a user can pause a video on the TV and resume it on the other device.

To participate, developers can simply visit to enter the competition and find information about downloading SDK 2.5. SDK is available free of charge at the Samsung D Forum site, , where interested developers can also find guides, tutorials, a Q&A section, and an emulator. The Samsung D Forum site also provides a community for developers to ask questions, discuss ideas and concepts, and otherwise interact.

MOVL, LLC, the developer of WeDraw, is also making its MOVL Connect(TM) Platform available to developers free of charge during the contest entry period. This service provides both tools and cloud-based infrastructure to developers, freeing them from concerns about bandwidth and servers when creating applications bridging multiple devices. "We are honored that Samsung has included MOVL in the new challenge. Last year we had a blast developing applications as contestants, and this year we are happy to share our technology and help other developers create multi-user, multi-screen TV apps." said Juan Pablo Gnecco, CEO of MOVL. The MOVL Connect(TM) Platform, documentation and examples are available to developers at .

The esteemed panel of judges for the Free the TV Challenge 2011 includes James McQuivey (VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester), Ross Rubin (Executive Director, Industry Analysis, The NPD Group), Bob Borchers (General Partner, Opus Capital), Eric Anderson (VP of Content for Samsung Electronics America), Peggy Ang (VP of Marketing for Samsung Electronics America) and Greg Dudey (VP of User Experience for Samsung Electronics America).* The competition is powered by ChallengePost, a web platform that enables social problem solving.

Winners will be announced in Las Vegas at the 2012 International CES. The first prize winner will receive $100,000, a 65-inch Samsung LED TV and a Samsung Galaxy Tab. The winning app will also be highlighted in Samsung Apps, the world's first HDTV dedicated apps store.

Full Prize List:

  • — 1st Prize: — $100,000
  • — 65" LED D8000 series Smart TV (estimated retail value $6,000)
  • — Galaxy Tab 10.1 - 32GB (estimated retail value $600)
  • — 2nd Prize: — $75,000
  • — 55" LED D8000 series Smart TV (estimated retail value $3,500)
  • — Galaxy Tab 10.1 - 32GB (estimated retail value $600)
  • — 3rd Prize: — $50,000
  • — 55" LED D8000 series Smart TV (estimated retail value $3,500)
  • — Galaxy Tab 10.1 - 32GB (estimated retail value $600)

*Final panel of judges subject to change

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