When it comes to technology giants, you're nowhere unless you can draw a crowd -- not just from consumers, but also among the geniuses and innovators who make your products more fun and functional.
Apple has its World Wide Developers Conference, Google has its Input/Output confab, Microsoft has its Build Developer Conference, and now South Korea's Samsung is gearing up for its own gathering, set for Oct. 27 in San Francisco (usually the city of choice for these gatherings, except in the case of Las Vegas, which hosts the Consumer Electronics Show).
'Engage and Collaborate'
The first-time, three-day event at the Westin St. Francis Hotel will bring together Samsung execs with what it hopes will be throngs of go-getters out to launch new apps or software for Samsung products like smartphones and tablets, which are mostly powered by Google's Android operating system.
"Engage with industry insiders," reads the invitation on Samsungdevcon.com. "Collaborate with fellow developers. Learn about new Samsung tools and SDKs" [software development kits]. Registration is not yet open, but interested parties can sign up to be notified when it is.
The conference is widely seen as a response to the highly successful WWDC convened by sales rival and courtroom sparring partner Apple, which sells the single most successful smartphone.
The question is, how will a conference for Android developers be much different from Google's own I/O, which convened May 15-17 at San Francisco's Moscone Center?
"Apple owns its own platform and Google has its own developer conference for Android, making me wonder what Samsung is presenting to developers given they don't own Android?" mused technology consultant Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. "Historically, they have done poorly with developers."
Samsung did not immediately reply to our request to speak to a representative about its conference.
Figures from International Data Corp. earlier this year showed that 42 percent of worldwide sales of Android-based devices were shipped by Samsung in 2012, with no other original equipment manufacturer coming close to that share. Sales of products like Samsung's flagship Galaxy S 4 or the Galaxy tablets in a range of form factors have propelled Android to the top.
That means Samsung may opt to develop a "forked" version of Android that differentiates it from the version used on other phones and tablets.
Fork in the Road?
"Given Samsung dominates Android they likely can pull some where others couldn't do this, and they are increasingly trying to take Android over, and their version looks more and more like a fork," Enderle said. "I really don't think they can hold a candle to WWDC though; they'd need their own platform and more developer trust than they currently enjoy."
And what products on the horizon could Samsung developers expect to have a glimpse at?
"They are running hard against Apple and have an Apple alternative to virtually every Apple product but the desktop PCs," Enderle said. "That suggests they likely have a strong smart watch in the works to combat iWatch."