Live from Samsung Developer Conference 2014: Spotlight on the Gear App Challenge

Thousands of developers have come together at the Samsung Developer Conference to learn, code and network about hot mobile trends like wearables, smart home and smart health, connected TVs, gaming and more. Here’s a look an in-depth look at one of my favorite events – the Gear App Challenge – along with a spotlight on a few of the top-ranked apps.

This week’s sold out Samsung Developer Conference 2014 in San Francisco has officially kicked off. Thousands of developers have come together to learn, code and network about hot mobile trends like wearables, smart home and smart health, connected TVs, gaming and more – and all of us at Nuance are excited to be getting in on the action. There have been tons of great technical workshops and sessions so far (not to mention all the gadgets to play with on the show floor – have you seen the smart fridge that lets you make phone calls??).

What I was really looking forward to this year, though, was seeing the final round of app presentations from the 2014 Samsung Gear App Challenge. Now an annual contest, the Gear App Challenge invites developers “to take technology to the next level by creating innovative, functional, and original apps for the Samsung Gear,” designed for the Samsung GALAXY Gear devices and built using tools like partners’ SDKs.  From a synergistic vision shared by both Nuance and Samsung, we believe that opening up our software to developers will inspire new innovations that will usher in the next generation of intelligent, connected devices.  In fact, two of this year’s Top 10 finalists, Travel Translator and POI Nearby, leverage the power of voice through the Nuance NDEV developer program SDK.

One of these apps, Travel Translator, removes communication barriers while traveling, doing business, or simply on-the-go. The design translates spoken phrases into your desired language – all through your Samsung Gear device on your wrist, with voice technology at the core of the intuitive user interface. The app includes 42 languages available for translations, along with customizable features like choosing a male or a female voice as for text-to-speech.

Another App Challenge finalist leveraging the NDEV developer program SDK is POI nearby, an app designed to help you discover more of your city. POI nearby gives you the flexibility to search for nearby restaurants, shopping, hotels or other points of interest, via a voice-enabled user interface. Once you’ve selected a location you would like to visit, you will be presented with step-by-step directions via GPS navigation. You can also choose to use your Gear as a phone and call your destination or visit its website for more information – all embedded in your Samsung wearable smartwatch.

Apps were judged on the following criteria: uniqueness, commercial potential, functionality, usability, and design. This year’s grand prize of $100,000 (not to mention bragging rights!) went to RunnerBeat, a socially-fueled app that lets you connect with and challenge other users across the world to see who can win in a race. Smart health enabled wearable devices and apps have been one of the clear top-emerging trends at the conference, and I’m excited to see what the future brings for this area. Watch the video below to see the RunnerBeat app in action:

If you’re a developer looking to get started building your own apps for Samsung Gear devices, you can join our NDEV early access program by clicking below. I can’t wait to see what you create!


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Yumi Huh

About Yumi Huh

As director of strategic partnerships for the mobile division, Yumi evangelizes the importance of intelligent personal assistants to key OEM and software application partners. Yumi joined Nuance in 2012 and ran the mobile product marketing team. Prior to that she held product marketing and communications roles at Samsung Mobile, Xbox and Sur La Table. Yumi has a B.A. from Wellesley College, completed an executive marketing program from Northwestern Kellogg Graduate School of Management and has earned an advanced level sommelier certification from Wine Spirit Education Trust.