Samsung is putting some celebrity technology muscle behind its recently announced $500,000 "Free the TV Challenge," snagging Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to participate in a fireside chat at its first developer day in San Jose next Tues, Aug. 31st. Joining Woz at the event will be Pandora founder Tim Westergren, Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens, ESPN CTO Chuck Pagano, CNET editor at large Brian Cooley and high-level Samsung executives. Attendees will see demos and gain training on Samsung's SDK.
Samsung is making an aggressive play for new apps suited specifically for connected devices and TVs. Two weeks ago, Samsung director of content Olivier Manuel told me in an interview that Samsung believes it already has a 60% share of connected TVs which it sees having huge growth ahead. Samsung also recently began a high-profile ad campaign with the slogan, "Now there's an app for that."
The battle for TV apps is just getting underway and this fall we'll see more announcements, from Apple, with its rumored "iTV" device, Google, with its Google TV device and plenty of others. As a dominant CE provider, Samsung will be in the middle of the action.
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