Samsung is an absolute dominating force in the mobile industry and consumer electronics arena as a whole, so its no secret as to why it receives so much attention in the Android world from consumers and journalists alike. We all see dozens of products get released, but behind the scenes there are thousands of people working to make it all happen, and that's where the Samsung Developers Conference comes in.
Late last month, members of the Mobile Nations team were in Korea and had the opportunity to visit Samsung Electronic's headquarters in both Seoul and Suwon, the Samsung Digital City. While there, not only did we have the opportunity to tour some amazing facilities that Samsung has built, we had a chance to meet with the folks responsible for working on all of these device projects and seeing them from drawing board to market.
The timing of the visit was fortuitous - it coincided with Samsung's local launch event for the Galaxy Note 3 phone and Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Most companies in the mobile space hold one major launch event when introducing a new product, but following the initial unveiling of the Note 3 and Gear in Berlin, Germany at IFA, Samsung followed up with several regional launches at a grand scale.
Moving beyond a launch of a pair of new products, Samsung explained its greater vision and actions in the mobile space and beyond. Everyone knows that Samsung makes more than just phones — you'll find everything from flat panel TV's to microwaves with the Samsung name on them, and at some point all of these different product categories overlap and interact.
"Our ability in combining hardware innovation with the soft side of innovation has been a key factor in our mobile growth"
Samsung is looking at the whole consumer electronics industry as a place that could use more interaction and consolidation — a place where you can have products that work together. But that doesn't come without some serious effort from all parts of the business. From the engineers that crunch numbers, make prototypes and test products (as you see below) to the marketing and media folks who make the products desirable and appealing to consumers, there's a whole lot in play with bringing new devices to market.
Sitting down with Dr. Won-pyo Hong, who is President & Head of Samsung's Media Solutions Center, we spoke about the upcoming Samsung Developers Conference and the company's efforts to localize the user experience of its devices:
"Hardware innovation is fundamental and we always want to be first to bring to new technologies to consumers. But we also have huge resources in design, UX, and software, in addition to our partnerships with content providers from around the world. Today Samsung has more than 10,000 software engineers and our ability in combining hardware innovation with the soft side of innovation has been a key factor in our mobile growth over recent years."
It takes a lot of smart people working on the software side of Samsung devices to make sure everything works as expected and most importantly works together. Creating a consistent and solid-performing ecosystem is important — whether it's simple interface unification across devices or deep-down coding of firmware for gaming compatibility and performance.
Using Android as a platform for growth is obviously of tremendous importance to Samsung, particularly in its lineup of phones and tablets but also expanding into new device segments like the Galaxy Gear. You then have to look into how to integrate those systems with Samsung's lineup of Windows computers as well as other embedded operating systems on TV's and appliances. It's an amount of work that could make your head hurt, but Samsung is clearly up for the challenge. Hong again had this to say:
"We decided this year that it’s time for Samsung to speak with developers on a more global scale about what we’re doing, our future visions, and the support and resources that we can offer to developers. As long as we’re clear about addressing consumer needs in the innovations and experiences that we’re trying to provide, then we will be successful in our relationships with developers."
We've been lucky enough to be selected as the official community partner for the inaugural SDC, coming up in under a week in San Francisco. Not only will AC be covering the news in its normal ways, but we'll also be sitting down with app developers, Samsung engineers and just all-around interesting people to talk about what's getting them excited in the world of Samsung and Android.
It's going to be a great few days to spend with some interesting and brilliant people, and we can't wait to get started.
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