Third-party apps are key to Samsung's future, executives said at the company's dev conference.
Samsung Connected TVs
Perhaps known best for its HDTVs and the Galaxy family of smartphones and tablets, Samsung is now building up its software offerings in its quest to stake out a presence in the living rooms, automobiles, and smart cities of the future.
The Korean electronics giant unveiled an SDK for its smart TVs at its developers conference in San Francisco today, the latest addition to the company's campaign to bring developers into its Internet of Things ecosystem. The goal is to help Samsung achieve a "lion's share" of the estimated 20 billion Internet-connected devices that will be produced by 2020, according to company executives.
"We have changed from a hardware company into really a software company," said Director of R&D Injong Rhee, a former computer science professor. "Software plays a key role in everything we do."
An update to the Smart View SDK should make it easier for consumers to navigate content within third-party apps on their Samsung TVs with the addition of "preview titles," reminiscent of the Windows 10 start menu. The bottom row of the TV's home screen will display installed apps, while a new row at the top will allow you to browse their content. That means you can find your favorite Netflix show without launching the app.
Samsung TV preview titles
You'll also be able to pay for purchases with a new Samsung Checkout integration, which was previously available in select apps but is now rolling out to all developers.
Samsung also announced an SDK program for its Artik IoT platform, which are SD card-sized modules that cram in a processor, memory, radios, and security protocols. The latest module, called the Artik 5, offers similar processing capabilities as the Raspberry Pi, but also includes Zigbee and Google Thread support.
To demonstrate how Artik could help solve environmental and overcrowding issues, Samsung aired a video narrated by Morgan Freeman that describes a future of smart city infrastructure that combats climate change and conserves natural resources.
"Even in a simple view of a city, the opportunities for IoT are tremendous," said VP of ecosystems Curtis Sasaki. One application is parking: strategically placed sensors could communicate with your car, helping to eliminate the estimated 30 percent of city traffic that is caused by people circling blocks to look for a spot to park their car.