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App-etite For Connection

Build a software platform, and applications will follow. Likewise, an application needs an operating system to operate on. The relationship is simple, yet inextricable.

And with the arrival of apps, came app stores - an essential hub for developers as well as third-party ones to create and market their wares. Apple has their established App Store to rave about, while Google has their Android Market to push, and they are pushing hard. If Nielsen's recent reports mean anything, 28 percent of feature-phone wielders would like to own an Android next, which gives it a 3 percent popularity edge over the iPhone.

To date, the Android Market has already dished out more than 100,000 apps since its arrival in October 2008. That's well and good. Of course, Apple fans are likely to scoff at these lesser numbers. The iPhone's SDK has spawned more than 280,000 apps to populate its iTunes stores since 2008. But before I digress, my point isn't quite about who's devouring a larger slice of the mobile market share. 

Reality is, connecting to the web is no longer restricted to the mobile space alone.

In March 2010, Samsung launched its SamsungApps store for their fleet of HDTVs. New as it may be, the Koreans' TV app store has already clocked two million downloads to date. The store brandishes 380 applications in all; with 259 apps free for plucking. One last hurdle remains though, and that's for Samsung to complete the browsing experience with a still-missing web browser.

Then came the Google TV platform on Sony's Internet TV, which exemplified the perfect marriage between Internet and "connected" modern televisions. What's interesting, however, is Sony's recent decision to incorporate the Opera browser on their upcoming BRAVIA line-up. This move has inevitably fueled doubts over Sony's partnership with Google and their Chrome cause. Apparently, sales figures of Sony's Internet TV isn't booming as planned which has led to price cuts as a result.

The other Korean giant, LG, has jumped onto the same bandwagon as well. If you could take a peek at their INFINIA blog, LG is hoping to rock the HDTV industry just as much with their Smart TV platform. Apart from the hoopla surrounding their Smart TV package, what's really informative about LG's article is the comparison between IPTVs and their Smart TV services cited towards the end of the blog post. To quote LG - "they both take broadcast and cable signals, and they both let us view the web. But they are not the same". Indeed, an open Internet network ecosystem versus a closed one offered by service providers does sound compelling. Best of all, you don't have to rely on that darned set-top box as most IPTV services do.

In retrospect, app store implementations on phones aren't new, but like it or not, that's where our tellies are headed in the same "connected" vein towards the cloud. At the rate things are going, with more efficient video processors plus storage possibilities on HDTVs (should I mention fiber?), I guess it won't be long before the role of a good ol' desktop PC is ruefully threatened by a good ol' TV in our cozy homes. If so, can we safely say then, that smartphones and "smart" TVs are the future tech icons then?

Andy Sim / Former Senior Tech Writer

Andy is a self-made geek with a penchant for good music and a hearty pint. His domain includes swanky TVs, notebooks and networking gizmos.

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