Interview

Why Samsung's boutique Galaxy Apps store is a "great opportunity for indies"

Why Samsung's boutique Galaxy Apps store is a "great opportunity for indies"

During the early years of the smartphone era, there was plenty of discussion about which platform was going to rank in third place behind Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store.

As it turned out, third place was so far behind, the answer wasn't relevant.

Fast-forward a couple of years, however, and Samsung is now on a quest to make a third place significant for developers, meaningful for users, and its own.

"We're not looking to compete in terms of the number of apps, but we do think there's a strong opportunity for a curated app store that highlights the best apps and games," explains Mihai Pohontu, who's VP, Emerging Platforms at Samsung and has responsibility for the North America operations of Galaxy Apps.

Curated approach

As he argues, other app stores are very hard for developers to interact with, especially in terms of the featuring that drives most discovery.

The aim with Galaxy Apps is to focus on much less content, but ensure that the quality bar is set very high, ensuring content will strongly appeal to the tens of millions of people who regularly use Galaxy Apps.

In this way, Pohontu labels Galaxy Apps a "boutique app store".

And, the first fruits of this approach can already been seen with the North America store racking up 15.6 million monthly active users during November 2015.

"We're looking for content that pushes the boundaries," Pohontu enthuses. "We want content that's special, that's amazing."

Games the way

Galaxy Apps covers a range of content from wearable apps and TouchWiz UI themes to enterprise software and the majority standard apps and games content store.

As with most other app stores, it's games that are driving uptake, both in terms of users and revenue.

For this reason, a big part of Samsung's outreach program is focused on game developers, who range from the big global players, such as Supercell, GSM and Gameloft, who are already live on the store, down to small indies.

We're looking for the gems lost in the mountain of coal.
Mihai Pohontu

Pohontu says that he's not concerned about who developed the games on Galaxy Apps. It's a meritocracy based on content quality.

Lost gems

Of course, running such a store does require a more involved approvals process than say Google Play.

Certification takes a couple of weeks, and developers have to integrate Samsung's billing system, for example. However, Samsung does has its internal development resources to ease the process, and even enhance content in a co-development process, if required.

More significantly, however, it's this tighter process that ensures required quality levels are met, encouraging consumer uptake, as well as reducing the number of available apps.

Pohontu says that in the medium term, he expects Galaxy Apps to have less than 10,000 apps, which guarantees strong downloads for accepted content.

"I think we're a great opportunity for the small indies who have an innovative game but can't find, or afford to find, an audience," he ends.

"We're looking for the gems lost in the mountain of coal."

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Greg Quinn CEO/Lead Developer at Meltdown Interactive Media
This is great vision by Samsung, hopefully Apple and Google will follow suit one day. I've spent years developing SuperTrucks Offroad and don't intend for it to be buried in the heap with all the non curated, low quality clones and reskins when it gets released.
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