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Aug 18, 2009

Samsung Widget SDK: cocktails, widgets and cash prizes


Samsung has been offering widgets on their TouchWiz-enabled phones for quite a while, but now they're taking it up a notch with the release of the Samsung Mobile Widget SDK. It's not so much the SDK that's interesting, but how Samsung are kicking it off.

For those who don't know, SDK stands for Software Development Kit, or in other words, a collection of tools that will help you develop software. The software in question here are widgets to run on TouchWiz enabled phones.

But which ones? TouchWiz runs on top of Windows Mobile, Symbian and even Samsung's proprietary OS. Well, the answer is all of them, which is good news to developers - just one version of their widget will cover all of Samsung's TouchWiz-enabled line-up.

Samsung decided that the best way to attract early adopters of the SDK is to hold a party (good choice). The Samsung Widget Developer Camp will be held from September 11-13, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco. Starting off with a cocktail event, the camp will provide Wi-Fi, catered and staffed meeting space for 24 hours.

During that time, developers will have a go at creating a widget to compete in one of five categories - Social Media, News/Reference, Health/Fitness, Travel/Entertainment and Humor/Fun. The winner in each category will receive a 5,000-dollar prize, while the best-in-show widget will earn its creator a cool 20,000 dollars award and the opportunity to attend CTIA I.T. & Entertainment 2009 expo and have their widget shown-off at the Samsung booth.

Devs at the camp will get an opportunity to pitch ideas to Samsung for widgets, which might end up preloaded on some of the new devices. The other two distribution paths are Samsung's Application Store and the Samsung Widget Gallery. The Samsung Widget Gallery debuts with the Samsung I8000 Omnia II.

Finally, Samsung offers a really cool way to test applications (widgets included). It's called the Virtual Device Lab, and what it does is allow you to remotely install your app on real hardware, over the Internet in the comfort of your browser. So far only WinMo-powered Samsung phones are available for remote testing but that still gives you access to a lot of real-life hardware, instead of just emulators.

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