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Your hot peer-on-peer code wrestling could net $800k from Samsung

App beauty contest encourages gizmos to hook up

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Samsung's annual round of carrot-on-a-stick waving at developers has been extended this year with an additional $800,000 to push the electronics giant's peer-to-peer networking.

The Samsung Smart App Challenge has the usual categories for Smart TV, Mobile and Convergence software, each dishing out $55,000 in prizes to the programs declared the best by Sammy's judging panel.

But those payouts are dwarfed by the $800,000 that will be split between 10 developers who find killer applications for Samsung's Chord peer-to-peer software interface - a technology to get compatible Android gadgets, household appliances and other hardware exchanging information for their human masters.

Chord uses UDP to advertise services across an IP network subnet to which clients can connect.

Once the clients are connected, the extremely simple API allows the sending of files and messages between groups and individuals. The Samsung tech is being marketed to Samsung lovers as the "Group Play" experience (as seen on the Galaxy S4).

Chord is built atop the open-source ZeroMQ library, and the API is surprisingly easy to use, though it's less flexible than Qualcomm's AllJoyn, which provides similar functionality.

AllJoyn is also cross-platform, and cross-language, while the Chord API is restricted to those equipped with a Samsung Galaxy S4, or more than one for those interested in unsimulated P2P action.

To get a shot at the competition prize, which will be largely comprised of Samsung kit valued at a combined $800,000, developers have to create a P2P app for download though the Samsung store.

The app must be free, but can use in-application billing (using Samsung's In-App API) or else supported by advertisers (using Samsung's AdHub, naturally). It must also run on a Galaxy S4.

It's far from clear how cross-platform Samsung's offering will become, if it spreads at all. The fact that it is built on ZeroMQ should provide some interoperability, though Samsung would like to see apps providing some measure of lock-in by using Group Play.

Group Play is an app from which a user can select which shared game to play, video to watch or music to hear, based on what's being shared locally, on other Samsung devices. We've asked Samsung about the opening up of Group Play, and the Chord API, but are still awaiting a response.

But if you're a dev with an S4 or two handy, and if you're blinded to the limited distribution by the whopping $800,000, then the Eclipse plug-in and API documentation is on Samsung's site along with the competition details.

For those with less cutting-edge hardware, there's still the old App Challenge for Smart TV and Mobile. The prize money might not be so impressive but assuming you stick with Android libraries and JavaScript then you should end up with something usable beyond the Samsung universe. ®

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