Irish developers have a chance to lead the smart phone ‘Wave’

11 Mar 2010

Samsung Mobile has captured 20pc of the global smart-phone market. Country manager Gary Twohig wants Irish app developers to vie for a share of a major $2.7m apps competition.

The head of Samsung Mobile, JK Shin, said recently he wants smart phones, social media and apps available to everyone, regardless of age or income. Is this achievable?

That is our intention. Everyone in the mobile world is talking about apps and smart phones – that’s where it’s at. In fairness, the iPhone made the first inroads, but access to its Apps Store is for a smaller percentage of the marketplace – people who are in a position to sign up for a longer-term contract and pay for an expensive product.

We reckon when apps get really exciting is when they are available to all people in the marketplace. Samsung recognises this and our priority is to make smart phones available to everybody.

The first product we’ll be announcing with our Samsung apps store on will be the Wave, which launches in May throughout the world, but very quickly after that we’ll be launching seven products this year, with the Samsung App Store available on them. Some of those products will be hitting the €99 prepay market this year for younger consumers.

How big a business opportunity could apps be for Irish software developers?

Developers have got to earn their living and it is important when they develop an application they have access to a marketplace that will make that app pay them back. 

If you look at the numbers, Samsung is a clear No 2 in the world. We are 20pc of the global sales of mobile phones – that’s 230 million phones we sold in 2009 across the world. Our plans are to launch at least half of our devices this year with the Samsung Apps Store available on them.

That’s 115 million handsets with the Samsung Apps Store on them. So straight away the developer in Ireland has access to up to 115 million people’s most important daily tool to sell their application over.

Samsung has put up a global prize fund of $2.7m. What chance do Irish developers have to win a share of this?

We are hosting a Developers’ Day in Ireland on Thursday, 25 March in the Mansion House. This Developers’ Day is happening in four places globally during March. One is London, one is San Francisco, one is in Seoul in Korea, where Samsung is headquartered, and the fourth one is in Dublin. We’ll have our development team from head office flying over from Korea to support this day here in Dublin.

It’s the largest prize fund as of yet for any development competition. There’s $2.7m up for grabs and that’s shared across different prizes. The overall winner will win $300,000.

Those developers we’re dealing with here in Ireland, we want them to put forward their apps for this competition. The winners will be announced later in the year. The judges will be looking out for uniqueness, creativity, whether it’s a commercially viable application, as well and general newness – is there a real market for that application?

The Wave promises to be a competitor to the iPhone and bookies are already taking bets on this. What is different about the Wave smart phone?

There’s a few striking things about the device. One is the shape – it’s a very sleek, slim, stylish-looking device that Samsung is synonymous with. The other thing that will strike you is the screen.

We are using technology we have from our TV background and putting that into the phone. It is a super AMOLED screen. There’s no other phone out there that has anything like this: the gaming experience; the movies you watch on the phone; and a high-definition screen. It also has a built-in 1Ghz app processor.

To learn more about the $2.7m apps competition, go to the website.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Samsung Mobile country manager Gary Twohig

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years