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New App Markets on the Horizon: Smart TVs and Watches

New App Markets on the Horizon: Smart TVs and Watches

Oct 17, 2013

There’s no denying that mobile app stores are saturated with a huge range of games, with many essentially reusing the same ideas.

It can take nearly 50 thousand downloads to be thrusted into the top downloads compilation on the relevant app stores, and so gaining popularity or recognition can be very difficult for those without a name already.

So, if you’re looking to gain traction in the development world, what can you do? It seems there may be alternatives to developing apps for the smartphone or tablet soon, with other devices slowly utilizing similar digital app stores.

Smart TVs have been around for a few years now, yet have not caught much furore quite yet. Despite this, soon enough people will take the leap into online-TVs and streaming straight from the lounge. The same way HD sets took a few years to truly gain a userbase, the Smart TV is sure to expand soon.

Although micro-consoles and other devices allow TV streaming, (such as PS Vita TV or Apple TV), if the ability so stream Netflix or Hulu straight from the TV’s OS could be very appealing. I had personally underestimated the power and accessibility of the Smart TV, having recently upgraded to one, although companies have not quite harnessed them yet. This could open up audiences to those who are not tech-savvy enough to use the internet, or make the jump to a high-end smart phone.



Accessible menu: Very few apps


As an example, Panasonic, amongst others, have their own digital store to download apps.  However, there are very few to choose from, and most are merely streaming applications of services that exist on the internet. The few games I did manage to play, were of very poor quality, such as a Bejeweled-esque puzzle game, and Wee Wee Kitty, a crude game made famous by Sky’s interactive services. Needless to say, given the correct attention, much better efforts could be created, which may make addicts out of casual gamers in the future. In contrast, other apps I tried such as Skype, Netflix, or YouTube were very impressive, with an obvious audience of TV-watchers, but nonetheless proved that quality apps can be produced for the television.

One drawback is the remote for the TV would be an awful gamepad if this transition occurred. However, it was incredibly simple to wirelessly link up my phone to the TV, using it as a small touchscreen to control whatever is on screen. Aside from creating specific peripherals (if they adopted Bluetooth), linked up other devices by WiFi could have a lot of potential, if used correctly.Perhaps what needs to be done is a single OS to unite the majority of Smart TV’s, for an abundance of quality apps to download (similar to what Google did with Android in the mobile market).

On top of this, there are also Smart Watches in development, with some already available.  Although some may seem it is a silly market to enter, as all watches are needed to do is tell the time, by the end of 2015 they are expected to hit 15 million.


Gimmick, or future?

Gimmick, or future?


Both Apple and Google are set to enter the Smart Watch market, and with companies who have already established iOS and Android respectively in the mobile phone market, the future looks promising. And the fact they these companies are developing for watches, means that the learning curve could be relatively small when making the transition from smart phones. There could be a lot of potential for developers to jump on this boat early on, with few apps available at launch. The gaming prospects for watches could be limited; yet I am sure there will be some form. Perhaps you could feed virtual pets, or train your troops on Clash of Clans straight from your wrist.

It seems there are many platforms to be explored. Although the Smart Watch and Smart TV are not quite there yet, they look very promising, and if apps become more frequent and of higher quality, it could be a tempting venture for developers.


Adam Barsby is a writer for Gaming IQ, alongside running Social Media. If you are partial to stalking, you can follow him on Twitter @barsby3, or read his articles here. 


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