After Apple changed the world with the introduction of their App Store, the world’s leading consumer electronics companies quickly sought to catch up and emulate this success. They saw the value in a vertically integrated combination of hardware, OS, and app ecosystem. While Apple established a strong lead on smartphones, other players already had a wider range of app enabled devices they could bring together into a universal app ecosystem that Apple would have to play a tremendous amount of catch-up to match.
Samsung, as the largest consumer electronics company in the world, took the lead and had a unique opportunity to shape the world of apps across a diverse set of devices. Samsung’s diverse product set and vision for app-enable smarthomes drove their vision to create a universal app store. They already provided apps for their mobile phones and televisions but they were looking to establish a foundation for ubiquitous app distribution to any device current or future that would run an app. Cainkade was brought in to architect and bring this new platform to life.
How could we create a seamless experience to find and install an app on any connected device and have it available on any other supported connected device? and for it to appear on the TV user interface?
Operationally we envisioned some added complexity with 4 parties in the mix – Samsung, their dedicated agency Cheil, design partner Code and Theory, and ourselves. Things went much smoother than we expected, affording us a chance to work onsite in Korea and collaborate from our New York office.
The core of the app store centered around a few key systems that Cainkade built or customized:
- A provisioning and delivery server that sat between the consumer Web interface, the internal app publishing system, and Samsung’s smart TV OS on TVs themselves.
- A catalog-style content management system that categorized content by genre, chronology and popularity.
- Stored value e-wallet and credit card processing
Front-end development on the consumer-facing website was complex, integrating with over a dozen vital services, including:
- A Cainkade architected a set of APIs required to keep all of the systems humming and in sync.
- Bazaarvoice hosted ratings and reviews service
- Yahoo TV Widgets (popular a few years ago)
- Payment services
- User identity, account profile and sign-in process