Like Apps? There’s a TV For That.

Interesting move by Samsung in providing a really big incentive to develop apps for its TV platform: $500,000 in prizes.  Samsung Free The TV Challenge will announce the winners at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2011.

Samsung is freeing the TV, with its Samsung Apps line of televisions and Blu-ray devices, which can download, install, and run apps natively.  Samsung Apps is built into all Samsung 2010 Blu-ray players, Blu-ray Home Theater Systems, and the majority of TVs 40 inches and larger.  For the first time, distributing content to TVs is as easy as creating an app!

To celebrate the release of the Samsung TV Application software development kit (SDK) for this industry-leading line of TVs and Blu-Ray devices, Samsung is offering $500,000 in cash and prizes for the individuals or teams that develop the best looking, most brilliantly conceived, and most functional apps. Developers will retain all intellectual property ownership for their submissions, while having the opportunity to reach millions of people through their television sets.

The Challenge is open to U.S. residents of the 50 States (including the District of Columbia), as well as organizations employing fewer than 50 people that are domiciled in the United States. The Corporate Recognition Award is a non-cash recognition award intended to encourage organizations with fifty (50) or more employees to enter.

Not sure consumers will “get it,” but developers might. With such an incentive, it’s worth a try.

Meanwhile, the NAB launched “Keep My TV,” which is aimed at “educating and empowering viewers” during carriage negotiations between TV stations and pay TV providers. I don’t think people care much about carriage negotiations, much less know what it means.

Perhaps the fringe site “Turn Off Your TV” is becoming more mainstream, as families realize watching so much TV is detrimental.  Or not: surveys show an average of nearly five hours per day.

At our cottage in the Catskills, where we used to spend the entire summer as kids, we have a strict “no TV” rule. We like it that way. Fosters creativity. Take, for example, this creation on the banks of the Schoharie Creek…

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$2.99 Minimum for BlackBerry Apps

Research in Motion is not about to give up its hold on the corporate market. Charge them for apps — no freebies for you corporate types.  Released just in time for the CTIA Wireless show. The scoop, via Crackberry:

It seems RIM has decided the minimum price for paid apps will be $2.99. Potentially good news for developers, but bad news for the BlackBerry owners out there thinking that RIM’s application storefront would usher in 99 cent BlackBerry app pricing a la the iPhone App Store. Of course, free apps are still welcome, but as previously blogged the way their developer agreement is currently structured it’ll cost money to submit free apps to the store. Most people are willing to pay $3 (or more) for an app if it’s a good app. Where the 99 cent and $1.99 tiers fit well are for the not good but fun apps (fart apps, beer apps, etc.) which by the looks of this RIM would rather not see hit their app store.

Let’s face it, the iPhone is still years ahead of the others. No touch-screen handheld comes close to matching its utility, and Apple’s App Store is revolutionizing how people love their iPhone. Look, I’ve had a BlackBerry since 2003, and they’ve improved remarkably since. Use it every waking moment of my day.

I think RIM missed it here. There are 25,000 apps for the iPhone so far, so competitors have to go something truly exceptional to get people’s attention. If Apple ever does a deal with Verizon, the party’s over.

But since I left SES Americom, my employer of ten years, I’ve asked myself why I need my Curve when I can do so much more done with an iPhone? Enough said: I’ll get one next week; can’t hold out much longer.