Although it's unlikely that any mobile device maker will catch up with Apple's App Store in the short term, Samsung is taking another swing at it. The leading smartphone maker has launched a global contest that aims to woo mobile app developers to its cause.
The company introduced the $800,000 Samsung Smart App Challenge 2013, a competition aimed at finding new applications that make possible group communication functions on Android devices.
This is not the first time Samsung has turned to a contest to attract Android developers. Apparently, the company liked the results because it's willing to shell out big bucks in prize money to 10 winners, along with a variety of promotional benefits. This time around, Samsung Venture Investment will review the final winners for financial investment.
Focusing on Group Play Apps
"With Samsung Smart App Challenge 2013, Samsung is going to boost the mobile ecosystem," said Won-Pyo Hong, president and head of the Media Solutions Center at Samsung Electronics. "At Samsung we will continue to encourage mobile developers to develop new and innovative applications with newly launched features of Galaxy series."
Hong expects the Samsung Smart App Challenge to beef up the application choices for Galaxy S IV users. Here's how it works: The contest is open to all mobile application developers. Participating developers can sign up at SmartAppChallenge.com and register their apps from June 20 to Aug. 31.
The apps must make use of Samsung's Smart Chord software development kit. A panel of judges will decide the winning entries, which Samsung said would use group management functionality in "interesting and experiential ways."
Apple Still Dominates
Michael Disabato, managing vice president of Network and Telecom at Gartner, told us contests like these attract developers who may need an economic incentive to create compelling apps up front.
"Instead of betting on an income stream in the future and recouping their investment that way, Samsung is going to make the investment up front," Disabato said. "Samsung is hoping this contest is something that will benefit the company and developers in the long run."
Microsoft and Nokia have also made investments to attract app developers. The companies are investing $24 million into a mobile development program at Aalto University in Finland. The AppCampus program aims to foster the creation of innovative mobile applications for Windows Phone and other Nokia platforms, including Symbian and Series 40.
But so far, nobody is touching Apple's app dominance. Last week, Apple announced its 50 billionth download from the App Store. The company also reported that customers are downloading more than 800 apps per second, at a rate of more than 2 billion apps per month. Apple also remains the most profitable app store.