Samsung courts Android developers with $800,000 contest

Samsung is offering developers a combined $800,000 in prize money to create dedicated apps for the Galaxy S4, in a possible shift away from Google.

Samsung courts Android developers with $800,000 contest

Samsung is hoping to lure Android developers to build apps for sharing photos, videos and other media on its proprietary peer-to-peer network, Samsung Chord.

The Chord SDK is a modification to Android specifically for the S4 and will only work on devices with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. The firm will pick ten winners who will share the $800,000 prize.

Released in April and marketed to users as “Group Play”, the Chord SDK lets developers build sharing functionality into their apps more easily. For example, users can play multi-player games with any nearby Samsung device over Wi-Fi, or bring their devices close together to swap photos.

The move is one of several manoeuvres on Samsung’s part to shore up its software offerings against Android, despite running the mobile OS. The company introduced a raft of proprietary apps for the S4 on its release, much of it at Google’s expense, such as a rival app store which offers music, video, books, games and educational content.

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However, initial reviews of Samsung’s software have been poor, with the TouchWiz UI criticised for being laggy and flawed.

Samsung’s head of media solutions Won-Pyo Hong said that the firm was looking to “boost” its mobile offering.

“With Samsung Smart App Challenge 2013, Samsung is going to boost [the] mobile ecosystem,” he said. “At Samsung we will continue to encourage mobile developers to develop new and innovative applications with newly-launched features of the Galaxy series.”

This isn’t the first time Samsung has offered money to Android developers, with a similar competition last year focusing on apps for the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Tab. It isn’t clear which apps Samsung might favour this time round, but last year’s competition was won by shoot-em-up app Gun & Blood.

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