There are app stores and then there are app stores...
In easily the most ambitious adoption of this hugely popular tech, Samsung has announced 'Samsung Apps' which marks its plans to bring cross compatible apps - or widgets - to its entire product lines.
The plan will start in the living room, with Samsung bringing Apps to a select number of its 2010 HDTVs. Much like an application store on an smartphone, users will be able to browse an array of apps and download and purchase what they like. From here, Samsung aims to integrate Apps into its Blu-ray players, home theatre systems, make them cross compatible with its mobile phones (most likely using its bada operating system and eventually even extending them to its cameras, camcorders and white goods.
The roll-out for Samsung Apps targets distribution in over 50 countries before the end of 2010.
Can it work? Potentially, but I have my doubts. Why? Well, I have nothing against device interoperability - we need more of it - though I'm not convinced it should be divided up by manufacturer. This essentially ties customers' hands into purchasing Samsung-only equipment to get the best experience. Personally, I'd rather see it united by a common cross-manufacturer platform. This could be like Linux (where there are different builds, but overall compatibility) or something more specific such as Android.
To spur development Samsung Apps will be open to all third party developers and the usual major brands have signed up: Facebook, YouTube, Last.fm, Twitter, etc. The problem is, smaller developers are already caught up making apps for iPhone OS, Android OS, BlackBerry OS, webOS, Windows Mobile, Ovi, etc etc so will they really feel enthusiastic about yet another port?
I must admit, I have my concerns about the direction of Samsung at the moment. Samsung Apps follows the company's proprietary micro four thirds system found in the NX10 and specific bada mobile phone OS. Tying consumers into a single company may have worked in the past, but it doesn't work now. Just ask the former king of proprietary, the microSD adopting, SD card making, universal charger format member Sony...