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May 20, 2013

Samsung Announces Galaxy S4 App Contest

There are apps for just about anything these days, but not all for the same device. In order to bring more apps to its Galaxy smartphone, Samsung Electronics Co. has announced a new competition. The best and brightest (or those with the spare time, a good idea and a talented team) will compete to create apps for the devices, with 10 winners receiving a combined $800,000 in prize money.

In particular, Samsung is looking for apps that work with its “Group Play” service – a function that lets users share content and interact with each other. As it is, the Galaxy S4 is lacking in software, even though its hardware is exemplary. As such, it has lagged behind Apple in the high-end market, in spite of having a higher market share in the first quarter.

As such, this contest aims to amend that problem. With all the possibilities for apps that are out there, Samsung needs to pick up its software game in order to better compete with the other devices. That’s not to say that Samsung is doing poorly – far from it, as it has received glowing reviews in nearly all aspects except for its software. But at the moment, that’s a clear weakness the company is trying to fix.

At the moment, the majority of the Galaxy S4’s apps run on Google’s Android ecosystem. While this provides some nice apps, it also does little to make it stand out from the crowd, as most of those apps are available on competing devices. Apps can be submitted between June 20 and August 31, with judging through November, where those submitted will be judged based on design, uniqueness and commercial potential. Of course, the entries must be sold on the “Samsung Apps” marketplace and use Samsung’s APIs for purchases and advertisements.

So what sort of apps can we expect from a device that boasts itself as “the next big thing”? That depends on the imagination and inventiveness of the competitors. Messaging apps are plentiful, even if Samsung’s own Chat On app has not really done much, and there’s only so many different ways one can make voice and video chat applications. Still, there are plenty of possibilities. Realms of ideas to explore include music, gaming, augmented reality, information and trivia, and so much more, so we shall see what the competitors create. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, this is bound to bring some A-games to the table.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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