By STF News
The Samsung Developer Program has announced the launch of the Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019! The inaugural Best of Galaxy Store Awards launched at SDC 2018 and acknowledged the best app, game, theme, watch face and watch app. Galaxy Store publishers selected for this prestigious award exemplify excellence in innovation, quality and creativity.
Here is a look at what’s new with the Galaxy Store in 2019, including exciting new features, offering increased promotional opportunities for developers.
With the addition of editorial pages, also known as Editor’s Picks, developers have the opportunity to see their apps featured in personalized app recommendations (which are automatically algorithm-generated relevant recommended apps) for the category a user is searching for.
We talked with Ed Viejo, Director, Content & Services, Galaxy Store, and here is what we learned:
Q. Tell us what is new with the Galaxy Store?
A. So many exciting changes have happened with the Galaxy Store. Earlier this year we launched a new version. Not only did it bring a brand-new look but also a number of improvements as well as new features. From more personalized recommendations to enhanced search capability. Integration with Samsung Rewards give our users more ways to spend their earned points. However, the most exciting feature is our new editorial pages which enable us to craft stories to more effectively promote the unique content and apps available in the Galaxy Store.
Q. Why did you launch the Best of Galaxy Store Awards?
A. We believe the hardworking and dedicated community of developers are the heart of the Galaxy Store. Over the last few years the store has made some incredible strides forward and our developers have contributed to this success. Therefore, we wanted to recognize and reward the best work that this community has to offer because the store cannot exist without them. We are looking forward to recognizing those developers with the Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019.
Q: How can the Galaxy App store can help developers get new revenue streams and user acquisition?
A. There are many resources available to publishers on the Galaxy Store to support the success of their apps. A key resource available to publishers is the Galaxy Store Badge.
Samsung Developer Program members can create their very own Galaxy Store Badges that put their apps, watch faces, and themes center stage on their personal website, their branded media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and drive customers to their Galaxy Store pages in a single click. Whether they’re running paid media campaigns or just promoting themselves on the web, Galaxy Store Badges can increase downloads by 7 times over organic search.
TIP: Learn more about how to use the Galaxy Badge to promote through your own channels, improving discoverability and the opportunity to be selected as a Best of Galaxy Store 2019 winner.
Q. What can winners of the Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019 expect?
A. This year we are looking to expand the number of categories to recognize even more developers. Some of the benefits winners will receive are additional personalized promotion within the store, best of 2019 app banner, an award and other partner recognitions that are still in the works. New this year we plan to do an editorial spotlight featuring of all the winners.
Q. How can developers reach more customers across more devices with the Galaxy Store?
A. In 2018, Samsung shipped more than 292 million smartphones worldwide. As the global leading smartphone vendor, Samsung is known for consumer products such as mobile devices, home entertainment systems and more.
The Galaxy Store is a premium, one-stop-shop marketplace where our users can get the most out of their Galaxy devices tailored to their needs. Customers are looking for Wallpapers, Themes, Fonts and Galaxy Watch Faces to personalize their devices and give it a unique look that fits them. They use Stickers to make your messages fun. The Galaxy store helps these customers discover curated and Made for Samsung apps that are optimized for their device for the best user experience.
Our goal is to help more developers reach more customers and delight end users by delivering experiences that blend with the intent of each device and service context.
Q. What is next with the Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019?
A. Stay tuned to updates on the Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019, including information on the selection process an expanded list of categories, interviews from some of last years’ winners, and tips and tricks on being selected.
Q. When will the winners of the Best of Galaxy Store Awards 2019 be announced?
A. Winners will be announced on October 29th at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Jose, California.
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By STF News
On Wednesday, August 7th, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note10 in New York City. Now in two sizes, these powerful phones pack a variety of features for productivity and creativity. Most interesting for developers is the evolution of the S Pen and the introduction of Air Actions. While the Note9 allowed developers to leverage a single- or double-click of the S Pen to control apps, the new S Pen has both a gyroscope and an accelerometer. Air Actions let developers use gestures to enhance app functionality by detecting basic movements. Furthermore, the full S Pen Remote SDK gives devs access to raw data, enabling you to capture complex movements.
Whether your app requires users to swipe right, cast magic spells, or engage in a lightsaber battle, the updated S Pen SDK has you covered. I know you’re thinking “that’s impossible, even for a computer!” but it’s true! Want to conduct a symphony? Perfect your golf swing? Now you can with the Note10.
The Note10 also extends the capabilities of DeX by making it easier for users to access mobile capabilities on a PC or Mac. Developers can learn more about optimizing their apps for DeX on the developer portal.
Galaxy Watch Active2
The newest addition to the Galaxy Watch portfolio is the Galaxy Watch Active2. It combines the best features of the original Galaxy Watch with those of the Galaxy Watch Active by bringing back the rotating bezel, this time in digital form. Users can disable the touch bezel, so check out our user-interface guidelines to ensure you know how to support the rotating bezel, touch bezel, and bezel-less devices in your apps.
Designers can continue to be creative and build beautiful custom watch faces for the Galaxy Watch Active2. Learn more about Galaxy Watch Designer and unleash your creative juices.
You might have caught the moment during Unpacked where they showed someone taking a group selfie from their phone by simply tapping an app on their watch. Apps like this are built with Tizen, which supports native, web, and .NET development. Last year’s Best of Galaxy Store Watch App winner was Kemas Dimas, who created a wrist camera app that does just what you saw onstage.
If you’re in San Francisco on August 22, we invite you to register now and join us at an event focused on growth and innovation in the wearable device market. You’ll hear from Samsung and partner experts in the health and wearable space, and we’ll be previewing the new Galaxy Watch Active2.
Galaxy Tab S6
We also highlighted the new Galaxy Tab S6. Like the Note10, it supports Bixby. Developers can start building Bixby capsules today. The Tab S6 also supports the new Air Actions and full S Pen SDK.
If you didn’t catch Unpacked live, or want to watch it again, the full video replay is above. You can also check out the Samsung Newsroom for more on the day’s announcements. See these products in action and learn more about all of the different SDKs and tools available for developers and designers at this year’s Samsung Developer Conference! Register by September 27 to capture early bird prices. Do or do not. There is no try.
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The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is one of the best smartwatches for all Android phones. It’s got great compatibility, design, battery life, and is very light. Depending on your point of view, one of the best things about it is it’s not running Google’s Wear OS. The Galaxy Watch Active is running Tizen 4, and after the latest update, it has One UI 1.2 as well. Let’s take a look at some of the changes.
The Galaxy Watch Active’s new update tweaks some things to improve the experience without the rotating bezel. The app drawer is now slightly more optimized for swiping. Before, there were little icons at the top that would allow you to switch between pages. Now, all you can do is swipe instead of pressing the icon. It should be noted that you could also swipe before this update, but Samsung cleaned up the animation and made it work better. This is a small change, but it always felt like Samsung just threw the same software onto the watch with different hardware. No more next page button
The next major change is actually with Bixby. I know most people just ignore Bixby’s existence, but it can actually be useful on a watch. Before the new update, Bixby felt like S Voice with a new icon. The original Bixby on the watch and S Voice didn’t even sound different. After the update, Bixby actually sounds and feels like Bixby from Samsung phones. It even has a similar settings panel and app support to Bixby 2.0 on phones with One UI. (Then again, you could just use Google Assistant…)
Goodnight mode is another pretty cool change. It tries to limit your use of the watch and keep you away from checking your notifications. It makes it harder to check your apps and notifications. To continue to do so, you need to either turn off goodnight mode or hit the home button. It’s not making it impossible, but it just adds a little barrier to make the process more difficult and hopefully keep you away.
Another very minor change I noticed after playing with this update is with icons. The theater mode icon in the watch’s quick settings has been redesigned. Before, it had a confusing-looking curved display. It was hard to tell what it was unless you knew ahead of time. Now, the new icon is much easier to see and actually know what it means.
Along with these new features and minor changes, we do have some actually useful updates. The Galaxy Watch Active can now automatically track swimming and input it into Samsung Health. There is also a new warning for minimum and maximum heart rates. These will warn you if your heart rate is above or below a certain point without doing exercise. This feature will likely be tied to ECG support in the Watch Active 2.
All of these updates are really nice and just reinforces my perception of the Galaxy Watch Active being the best smartwatch for Android. These changes will also pave the way for the Galaxy Watch Active 2 when it’s announced next month. Wear OS as a platform doesn’t see much movement these days, but Samsung is charging ahead with their smartwatches and software.
By STF News
A key component of theme design is custom icons. These icons can launch apps like email, camera, and music, and are also used as weather app symbols and user-interface indicators throughout a theme.
Icons are a great way to show off your design skills, enhance your theme concept, and set your design apart from others. They can be sold as Icon Packs or as part of a Galaxy Theme on the Galaxy Store.
In this article, you’ll find some useful tips for both prospective Galaxy Theme designers and current designers on how to create custom theme icons.
Becoming a Samsung Theme Partner
Only those who have been accepted into a Samsung Theme Partnership can design and sell themes on the Galaxy Store. You can learn more about how to apply for a theme partnership by reading How to Submit a Galaxy Themes Portfolio. You can download the Theme Editor software and start customizing the icons in your theme design once you’re a part of the program.
When building a theme there are many opportunities to replace the default icons, buttons, and indicator symbols with customized graphics. However, only the icons in the Icon Pack have to be customized when you submit a theme for approval. The theme will be rejected if the default icons are not replaced with customized icons.
Certain icons cannot be changed. These icons include third-party apps like YouTube and Facebook, or system apps like Smart Switch and Optical Reader. However, you can still add a custom background or frame to these icons by using the Icon Tray feature. Read below for more information on Icon Trays.
Icon Design Tips
Download Default Icons. If you would like to have example files of the default icons, download by right-clicking one of the icons in the UI preview window and selecting [Download]. To download all of the icons, right-click and select [Download All]. Size and Resolution. Icons within the Icon Pack must be 144 pixels square in size, with a screen resolution of 72ppi. Color Mode. The document image color mode for icons must be either grayscale or RGB. Adobe Illustrator. Use a vector-based program like Adobe Illustrator to easily edit or enlarge your icon artwork without losing quality. Adobe Photoshop. If using a bitmap-based program like Adobe Photoshop, place vector artwork as smart object layers. This allows the artwork to be enlarged without losing quality. Document size. As mobile device screens improve, the Themes Editor software may increase the required size for app icons. Start with a larger document size that can be easily reduced to 144 pixels. Example: A 576 pixel document can be reduced to 144 pixels when multiplying by 25%. Designing at a larger size ensures that you have master files that can be exported larger than 144 pixels in the future. JPGs & PNGs. Even though icons can be imported into Theme Editor as JPGs or PNGs, I would suggest PNGs to allow for transparent backgrounds. Color Palette. Icons are easy to read at a quick glance when fewer colors are used. Create a simplified, cohesive color palette with enough background contrast so that your icons can be seen.
Use the Icon Tray feature to add a background or frame to your Icon Pack apps. The Icon Tray displays an additional image independent of the icon image within the app. This is helpful when adding a similar background, or to frame third-party and system app icons that cannot be customized.
To use the Icon Tray feature, click [Icon pack] in the sidebar and then [App icons]. Then, click anywhere in the UI Preview Window that is not within the dotted-lined rows of icons to display the Icon Tray builder window. Select [All Apps] if you would like every app in the UI theme to have the same custom background. Select [Unassigned Apps] to add a custom background to the app icons that cannot be customized. When choosing this option you must still replace the icons that can be customized.
Weather Widget Icons
The Weather widget consists of 27 icons, one for each weather condition. Even though it is not required to change these symbols, doing so is a great way to create a unique theme.
To access the Weather widget, click [Home screen] in the sidebar and then [Partly Sunny] in the default UI screen window. Take note that the size of the icons are 219 x 219 pixels.
Calendar App Icon
There are two options to customize the calendar app. The first is to upload a custom icon that symbolizes a calendar. The second option is to create a Live icon that shows the current date on top of a custom icon background.
1. To create a Live icon, click [Icon pack] in the left sidebar and then the [Calendar app icon row] in the default UI screen window.
2. Click the [default icon] to the right of the Calendar app to replace the app icon. Once replaced, the option to add a Live icon will appear.
3. Click [Live icon] to open the icon builder. In this window you can add a calendar background image, and set the font color for both the day of the week and day of the month. Both font colors must be changed from the default font colors. If not, the Save button will not be active.
If you do not want the day of the week to appear, set the font color opacity to 0% in the middle option of the three customizable sections.
If you would like the style of the standard calendar icon to match the style of the Live icon, place a checkmark next to [Set the current preview as a normal]. If not, an icon image must be uploaded for the normal calendar icon.
Free Icons For Free Themes
If you would like to offer a free theme and are looking for free icons, you can download different public icon packs by logging into your Samsung Account and visiting the Themes page. These free icons are only available to those who have been accepted as a Theme Partner.
Each icon set is a Photoshop file with embedded smart object icons. You can customize and save icons individually.
Click the image button to the right of each icon to upload an individual icon. Click the “Add All” folder button in the upper right of the icons window to add a group. If using the “Add All” feature, file names must match the names the default icons. Bad Design
The majority of Theme Partnership applications are rejected because:
Icons are not customized Backgrounds make the icon too difficult to read Symbols do not correlate to their specific app Icons are poor quality Below are examples of bad icons:
Final Design Thoughts
Your icon designs have the greatest impact on the look of your theme design and give it unique characteristics. True for all aspects of UI design, clean and simple is the approach you should take when designing app icons. They should be easy to read not only at first glance but also when distinguishing between other apps on the same UI screen.
Testing the readability of your apps at actual size is very important. It is highly suggested to either view your theme on a mobile phone or print out your theme at actual size. Stepping back and quickly glancing allows you to determine if your icons are designed well and that it’s easy to understand what they represent.
For tips on designing themes, be sure to read the blog Design Tips: Galaxy Themes. If you are not familiar with 9-patch images or the 9-patch editor, please read the blog Use The 9-Patch Editor To Create Responsive Galaxy Themes Components.
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Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch Active alongside the S10 earlier this year, positively surprising us with a great all-round wearable product. Its the first Tizen watch to introduce Samsung's new OneUI, which has since made its way to the other smartwatches in the company's lineup. Now, the Active is first in line to receive another software update and with a slew of new capabilities such as a night mode, automatic swimming recognition, a new low heart rate alert, improved Bixby actions, and some general UX improvements.
Let's get Samsung's voice assistant everyone loves to hate out of the way first. It now lets you start customized exercise routines with specific goals and gives you the long-awaited ability to ask for the time differences between cities. The update should also make it easier to control SmartThings devices and change system settings such as brightness.
Proceeding to UI improvements, Tizen gets a new Goodnight Mode, which turns off the display at night and shows you a dedicated watch face with the press of a button. You can turn off notifications altogether while in this mode, or you can customize which notifications you'd still like to receive.
The App Tray has been updated to remove the dial-inspired interface, offering you horizontal swipes through pages of apps instead. With the Watch Active not having a rotating bezel, this makes sense.
On the fitness front, the watch adds automatic swimming recognition to the existing six activities it could detect before. Additionally, you can now set up custom low heart rate alerts alongside the existing high warnings. If your pulse is abnormal for more than 10 minutes, you'll receive a notification. The breathing guide also received some minor UX updates and should help you calm down more efficiently.
You can take a look at the full changelog for this update below:
Build Number : R500XXU1CSG6
Tizen version : Tizen 188.8.131.52
Release Date : 2019-07-23
- New Bixby
. New Bixby helps you get tasks done more easily. Start an exercise with specific goals or ask time difference between your city and the one you will be traveling.
- Samsung Health
. Swimming is new addition to auto detecting exercise types.
. HR Low Alert is added for a heart health.
. Breath Guide graphics are improved.
- App Tray UI
. App Tray UI has been improved for an easier, more intuitive and faster searching and activation.
- Goodnight Mode UI
. A dedicated view will be offered while Goodnight mode is on.
- Disabled automated sync of Alarm from paired Smartphone to Watch
Tizen version 184.108.40.206 is currently rolling out to the Galaxy Watch Active, but as always, it might be a little while before your device receives it.