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Exclusive: Samsung responds to developer concerns over Continuum

The Samsung Continuum is not for everyone. It’s not going to get love from the geardheads in the Android Family, but it’s not a budget phone either. So where’s the appeal group? In my opinion, it’s two fold. I see the interest groupd here being anyone interested in the exploration of the new, and developers looking to have a phone that could be pretty unique. The Continuum brings to the table a host of new hardware pieces that Android has not seen yet. The “grip sensor” and the “ticker screen” are both completely new, and with that comes a whole new playground for developers. Personally, I would love to use the grip sensor to mute a call, silence my alarm clock, ect. I think some really clever things could be done with the ticker display as well. What is instead of a ticker, the launcher was down there? It had some serious potential in the developer space, until I discovered that those pieces of hardware were not going to be made readily available to developers.

The news made me a little angry, and really confused. I would think that if these hardware manufacturers had learned anything, they would have learned that their devices are only as cool as developers make them. Take the Nexus One for example with it’s newfound FM Radio goodness. It is support from the community that keeps devices alive. Part of me wants to take a swing at Verizon here as part in fault, given the exclusive nature of VZNavigator’s ticker interaction. With all of this disappointment, I felt it was necessary to ask if Samsung would at least be including the information in their release of their source code, as legally required by GPL. I figured maybe, if someone cared enough, that would get the device SOME developer support. Samsung was not immediately available to comment during the event, but fortunately it did not take them long to get back to me.

According to Samsung’s legal department, they fully plan to comply with GPL v2 requirements as it adheres to publishing the source for the Continuum. This answer is just stacked with maybe’s, but I accepted it as the best they could do. Unfortunately we have already seen guys like HTC  and Samsung leave out some of the secret sauce that makes the devices tick, so I would not be surprised if when the source is released, the grip sensor and ticker are not exactly there to play with.

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  1. I tend to agree — switching applications to gain the benefit of the display ticker seems a bit ridiculous.

  2. Samsung confimred at the event that the only applications that can make use of the ticker are the pre-installed applications. Barring Verizon’s speculated push for exclusivity here, it means in order for you to enjoy the RSS or Social Media benefits of the ticker, you have to switch. I don’t see many people switching their preferred application to get the benefit of the ticker. Furthermore, Google Voice users would be completely screwed, as SMS messages would not come in via the ticker.

  3. No developer support for the ticker display on Samsung’s Continuum? I am going to agree with @russellholly on this one — plain stupid!

    It would seem that the only applications that will take advantage of the ticker will be the on-deck applications. Any applications that are off-deck will not be able to use the ticker. This would limit any innovation that developers can bring to the ticker. @zevmo made a good point — he could see this technology being used to play games.

    Russell and I discussed this briefly at the Samsung Continuum press event and then again at #CES in #NYC. Holly explained that it feels like @Verizon leveraged their industry dominance to suppress off-deck applications. Why — simple it gives @Verizon exclusivity over the technology.

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