Samsung Announces Free the TV Challenge 2011 Connected TV App Developer Finalists

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Samsung today announced the finalists of the Samsung Free the TV Challenge 2011, the second annual contest that encourages developers to create apps that delight users with seamless, multimedia experiences on the largest screen in the home.

This year's participants were invited to submit converged apps that enable interactivity between Samsung Smart TV and multiple screens such as smartphones, tablets or notebooks. Each app is evaluated based on the overall visual appeal of the app on each screen, the quality of the idea and the functional implementation. Winners will be announced at the 2012 CES in Las Vegas, January 10-13, 2012 and stand to win a prize pool of US$225,000.

"Consumers are increasingly using a second device while they are watching TV to enhance their entertainment experience or access information. This presents a great opportunity for developers to create exciting innovations that raise the bar for entertainment across popular smart devices," said Eric Anderson, vice president of content and product solutions, Samsung Electronics America. "As the leading brand in mobile devices and TVs, Samsung is thrilled at the positive response from our developer partners, as well as the quality and creativity of the apps that were submitted."

The finalists of the 2011 Challenge (in alphabetical order) are:

  • FREQSHO — music fans can create their own music channel to stream music from any artist using a smartphone, tablet or TV. An easy-to-use search engine helps users quickly find their favorite artists and social connectivity allows them to follow the latest artist information and tweets in real-time.
  • Let's Play Stop — an interactive word game that challenges players to come up with words that correspond to a random letter in five categories: country or city, body parts, fruits, colors and animals. The first person to complete the round with as many unique words as possible wins.
  • Party Shots — a fun, interactive way to enhance any party. Users simply download the app onto their smartphones, snap photos at the party and these photos will instantly be posted onto the Samsung Smart TV as part of a dynamic slide show. Photos may be customized with captions and stored via the app so that they can later be shared over the web.

Samsung Apps is the world's largest and most popular HDTV-based application store. Consumers can choose from more than 1,000 apps worldwide that offer a wide array of interactive and customized content across categories such as video, music, news, sports, fitness and more. Free the TV Challenge finalists will also have the opportunity to make their app available through Samsung Apps, which currently averages 50,000 app downloads daily. Last year's Challenge winner — MOVL's WeDraw — was chosen for its interoperability between devices which showcased forward thinking in converged apps. WeDraw is compatible with Samsung Smart TVs, Android and iOS, and lets users draw pictures from their mobile devices, and see the big-screen version of those images in real-time on their sets.

 

The winning Free the TV Challenge app may be viewed at Samsung's booth #12004 at the International Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) from January 10-13, 2012. Apps may also be viewed at http://FreeTheTvChallenge.com via ChallengePost, the platform that powered this year's and last year's competition.

Enabling the Development of Compelling Cross-Device Solutions with World-Class Tools

Converged applications create a richer, more engaging experience across the TV and another device such as a phone, tablet or computer. These apps may be classified as:

  • Controller Apps that enable a second device to control an app on the TV
  • Companion Apps that use a second device to provide additional information (eg. via web sites and social media sites) that is synchronized to and supplements what is shown on the TV itself; and
  • Interactive Apps that optimize a second device for a secondary display; for example, allowing users to pause content on the TV and resume playback on the other device.

To further spur innovation on the industry's preferred TV apps platform, Samsung reiterated its commitment to provide applications developers with the tools and information needed to build new, interactive experiences for the TV, even as the TV continues to evolve. Samsung's Software Development Kit (SDK) for Samsung Smart TV already uses a single SDK for apps across HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Blu-ray Home Theater systems, so that developers need only write applications once. By eliminating the barriers to development and enabling more versatile monetization for developers, Samsung has successfully built a robust and intuitive smart TV application developer ecosystem.

In 2012, Samsung will launch the SDK 3.0, with new features that include enhanced support for "converged" or multi-screen apps. The new apps framework will be based on Javascript so more developers are able to create such converged apps for the TV environment. They will also be able to write basic functions that leverage Samsung Smart Interaction for motion control and voice control, as well as incorporate in-app upgrades or purchases. Additionally, the new SDK 3.0 will support a wide range of input devices, including USB mice, keyboards, game controllers and other multiple devices, so as to deliver the best user experience of Smart TV apps.

"As more developers being to embrace the idea of converged apps, Samsung Apps and our great development tools present an incredible opportunity for developers everywhere. Samsung will continue to collaborate with our developer partners to take their passions to the next level and create new experiences for the TV," said Anderson.

The Samsung developer community continues to grow and currently has thousands of active members. Globally, there are more than 25,000 developers in 140 countries developing for Samsung Apps. For more information on the developer community, please visit www.samsungdforum.com

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