Samsung Pushing on TV Widgets and Apps - Facebook and Google Maps Now Included on Internet@TV Enabled Devices

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Samsung has launched Facebook and Google Maps apps that put on its Internet@TV HDTVs earlier this week and I had the opportunity to test it out here in The Netherlands and it was extraordinary to access the images of my family as well as peruse accounts, video, images, updates etc of my friends. The Netherlands still does not have 'ticker' integration, so it's still a completely separate experience from watching TV - but it's still a totally different experience to use Facebook on a 110 cm HDTV than a 30cm PC monitor. Google Maps was also great - I tested getting from point A to point B and other useful ways to use it.

I am still not happy with the inputting of text - and I see a future of the thumb equivalent of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - unless they come up with a Wii type device or keyboard, I am not using that much.

As someone who can type about 100 wpm on a keyboard - and rock on an iPhone I am finding the 2=ABC, 3=DEF (Text on 9 keys) or T9 'old school' phone messaging cumbersome as hell. Give me a keyboard to move around on at least! I'd be happier one-thumbing on familar terrain - even a Querty would make me happy.

Keyboard Hell

Cool Facebook!

Interface for Samsung Apps

Gmaps on Samsung

Samsung, an early player in the connected TV space - is leading the TV apps and widget pack - Philips, Panasonic and Sony are still a step behind - and the company wants consumers to know that they’re focused on bringing more and more functionality to those televisions via Samsung Apps, the world’s first HDTV-based application store.The company has unveiled new apps that allow viewers to access Facebook and Google Maps data from their big-screen TVs, or compatible Blu-ray players.

"Sumsung Apps is essentially part of the Yahoo Developer Network which offer a Widget Development Kit and claim to have 'open standards "...  But I know of one UK company that even had a solid UK OFCOM rating (Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services) that could not get approval for their apps and widgets. So whether or not the Yahoo Developer Program is truly 'open' is still debatable.

[ed note: I was informed the following. "Samsung has totally changed its approach on Internet@TV.Since May 2010 they moved out from Yahoo Widget SDK. This means that older TV models will work on Yahoo SDK (based on Konfabulator framework) while the recent ones on the new Samsung SDK", from Cristian Rengo]

“The addition of Google Maps and Facebook to Samsung Apps shows our commitment to providing quality content and applications across multiple devices and expanding the connected TV experience for our consumers,” said Samsung Electronics America’s VP Eric Anderson, in a recent statement. “Now, users can enjoy leading location-based and social services directly on their connected TV, Blu-ray player, or Blu-ray Home Theater system.”

In their press release, Samsung stated they see these applications as ways to make the television experience more social, and demonstrates the flexibility of the Samsung Apps platform, which is based on Web technologies like XML and Javascript. Other Samsung Apps partners include Blockbuster, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter, USA Today, and Vudu.

Samsung rolled out its Samsung Apps store at CES in January 2009.

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