SAN FRANCISCO – There’s a new player in the second-screen market: Samsung.
At today’s Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco, the company announced a slew of new software development kits that allow developers on Samsung’s platform to connect their Samsung mobile devices to the company’s slate of smart TVs.
The new Multiscreen SDK, which is slated to launch on November 12, will allow developers to connect their app to a Samsung Smart TV to allow users to control connected apps on their TV with their smartphones.
The company also announced a Multiscreen Gaming SDK, that builds the popular Unity game engine on top of the Multiscreen SDK to allow developers to enable players of their mobile games to use a Samsung Smart TV as the screen for their games, while using their mobile devices as controllers. According to Unity CEO David Helgason, the gaming SDK is still in “early alpha” and won’t be available for at least the next couple of months.
Both SDKs will work on both Android and iOS, but require a Samsung smart TV to operate.
Samsung is leading the market in television sales, and it hopes to leverage that into success in the second screen market.
“This is the seventh year we’ve been number one in TVs,” Samsung Executive Vice President David Eun said. “We sold 53 million TVs last year.”
It’s a clear strike at the capabilities of Google’s Chromecast dongle and Apple’s Apple TV set-top box, which both feature similar functionality. Both devices allow users to control their set-top boxes with mobile devices, and serve content from those devices to the box on top of their TV. The Apple TV in particular currently allows users to mirror compatible games to the set-top box while controlling them through an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Of course, the major difference between Samsung’s tech and Apple and Google’s offerings is that Samsung doesn’t require consumers to purchase a new set-top box, since the new SDKs use Samsung smart TV sets. That could be either a good thing or a bad thing–while consumers can get access to Samsung’s new capabilities without buying a second box, it does require they buy a Samsung TV.
While it doesn’t currently pose a threat to the Xbox One, Samsung’s move into the gaming market has the potential to threaten console companies, once developers have the chance to offer high-quality games that work on both smartphones and smart televisions.
Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.