Samsung's television application marketplace is starting to gain some steam.
According to the company, nearly 10 million applications have been downloaded from its marketplace since the service was made available last year.
The rate of growth in Samsung's store has been quite impressive. Late last year, Samsung announced that its store hit the one-million-downloads mark, 268 days after the marketplace launched. In January, the store reached 2 million downloads. What's more, the company's applications inventory is growing quite rapidly. According to Samsung, it now has over 900 applications available to folks to download to their HDTVs.
To help improve its apps offering, Samsung also announced today that it has opened up its Free the TV Challenge for 2011. The company held the challenge last year, asking developers to create an application for its TV marketplace. Last year's winner was WeDraw, an application for both Samsung televisions and iOS and Android, that let users draw pictures from their mobile devices, and see the big-screen version of those images in real-time on their sets.
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This time around, Samsung is challenging developers to create "converged apps"--programs that can work across multiple screens, including televisions and iOS and Android-based smartphones or tablets.
Samsung says that it would like for developers to consider applications that let users control their televisions from mobile devices, as well as companion apps that provide additional information to what's already available on the television. Interactive applications that use a smartphone or tablet as a secondary display are also welcome, Samsung said.
Although television applications have yet to come into their own the way mobile applications have, there is a growing number of people who are warming to the idea of doing more than just watch movies and television shows on their sets. In fact, Samsung told CNET in a phone conversation last week that 50 percent of the people who own its line of HDTVs connect to the Internet from them.
Samsung's Free the TV Challenge is accepting submissions between today and November 29. The company plans to judge the entries and ask for public voting between December 2 and December 16. The winner will be announced on January 13.
Samsung says that the top developer will receive $100,000, a 65-inch Samsung LED D8000 television, a 32GB Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, and a two-month stint as one of the recommended applications in the Samsung Apps store. Second- and third-place winners will receive $75,000 and $50,000, respectively. They will also both receive a 55-inch Samsung LED D8000 and a Galaxy Tab 10.1.