Samsung keen to incubate promising mobile app start-ups

26 Mar 2010

At a Developers Day attended by up to 80 developers, Samsung Mobile revealed that as well as its US$2.7m global apps competition it is keen to invest and incubate promising app start-ups that could hold sway on the global stage.

At the developers event in Dublin yesterday, the company outlined its Bada development platform that will see the Samsung App Store arrive on not only the forthcoming Wave device but on future models, including the largely untapped sub-€200 smart-phone market aimed at prepay mobile users.

Philip Northam, global marketing manager, Samsung Mobile Innovator, confirmed that the company has already begun working with several promising app development companies that show special promise in terms of creating apps that are both unique and potentially popular.

“Essentially, we are trying to source really interesting apps to sell on the Samsung App Store. We’re asking developers who’ve got something they’ve developed and want to do something else with to come on board.

“Incubation funding for obvious reasons helps to reduce the risk to get them involved and show that we are committed to working with developers.”

Samsung centres

Northam explained that Samsung maintains R&D and sales and marketing centres in most major regions and the incubation initiative is about sourcing global and local apps with potential.

“Aside from funding, the incubation involves open clinics at Samsung offices. Anybody working with us will work with our developers face to face. We will be offering direct technical support. On top of the cash there will be a certain amount of technical hours.”

Northam said that at present, Samsung has around 10 start-up projects live in the UK.

“I spoke to a few guys today in Dublin who have interesting ideas and I hope we get some joy out of working with those guys, too.”

Samsung Mobile country manager for Ireland Gary Twohig explained that Samsung is now 19th in the world in terms of brand equity and has been the fastest-growing brand in the world in the last five years.

“The company saw 227m phones sold last year and we are now No 2 in the world with 20pc of the global market.

“With the launch of Wave we are going to be up against other players like the iPhone. Our strategy is to go multi-platform rather than going down one route.

“In the coming year, 40pc of Samsung devices will be based on the Bada platform, another 40pc will be Android devices, but we’ll also be supporting Windows devices which will be 10pc and our LiMo strategic alliance will be another 10pc.

“We’ll launch the Samsung App Store with the Wave, but right after that we’ll launch the store to a large number of devices. We’re encouraging as many Irish developers as possible to develop apps and make money.

Samsung Wave launch in Ireland

The immediate stand-out feature of the Wave phone, which will launch in Ireland in June, is its super AMOLED display, which is brighter and crisper than competing devices in the market, particularly the iPhone.

The Wave phone includes touch sensors within the display and a slimmer, seamless unibody exterior and has a powerful 1Ghz processor.

The advanced TouchWiz 3.0 user interface allows up to 10 homescreens to allow users to choose and display the widgets they need, whether it’s a weather clock, stock prices or personal schedule. The device also enables multi-tasking, a feature until now not available on many devices.

Twohig said the objective of the Samsung strategy is to make apps available for everybody in the world, regardless of income. “We’ll be launching the Wave as our flagship smart phone, but after that expect a replacement for the Tocco Light that will have Samsung apps on the phone.

Twohig said that two key form factors dominating in 2010 are touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY devices.

“Our aim is to get to below €200 for the smart-phones market, which is a huge market that no one else has aimed for,” Twohig said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Samsung Wave

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