Samsung Bixby DevJam Contest will Award $125,000 in Prize Money
Samsung has announced a developer contest for new Bixby capsules (Samsung’s term for voice apps) submitted for certification and approved between now and December 9th. The Bixby DevJam contest has a purse of $125,000 in prize money with a grand prize of $10,000 and two runner-up prizes of $5,000 each. There are also a list of 25 other $1,000 prize categories, weekly raffles for two $500 prizes, and $300 in U.S. Samsung Store credit for the first 250 submissions.
Developers can qualify for the store credit by simply getting up to four different capsules certified. At a potential total of $1,200, that could cover the cost of a new Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10+, or get you about 60% of the way to a Galaxy Fold. Of course, Samsung also sells televisions, computers, audio equipment, and a wide range of home appliances.
In addition, there is one prize that is not monetary but will likely be attractive to many developers. “Contestants have a chance to have Adam Cheyer (cofounder of Siri, Change.org, and the new Bixby) be an advisor to the winning team’s company,” according to an announcement shared with Voicebot. Cheyer is highly regarded in the developer community, was named as one of Voicebot’s Top 44 Leaders in Voice, and rarely advises startups other than those where he is a founder. This opportunity is likely to motivate a few developers to consider how supporting Bixby could provide other benefits to their startup.
Judging Criteria and Other Details
The new capsules will be judged on several criteria including technical innovation, creativity, execution, and polish. Technical innovation will be scored on whether the capsule takes advantage of features that are unique to Bixby and not found in other voice assistant development platforms. For creativity, the criteria will be whether the capsule is novel both within the Bixby ecosystem and those of other voice assistants.
The evaluation of the execution criteria will be focused on whether the capsule presents well and works consistently. Polish will be judged by the presentation of the user interface and the user experience. Samsung has not indicated what weighting will be applied to each of these criteria.
Contests as Fuel for Developer Attention
Contests with cash prizes have become a recurring tool employed by voice app ecosystems to drive concentrated developer attention. Amazon has used contests extensively to drive new Alexa skill submissions and has run them to promote everything from games and multimodal voice experiences to voice apps designed for kids. It currently has a similar contest active for skills that include In-skill Purchasing (ISP). Google has also run contests in the past for various Assistant Action categories ranging from general use to specific causes but has not employed them with the same frequency as Amazon.
The Bixby DevJam is not Samsung’s first contest for Bixby developers. Last year, the Bixby Developer Showcase awarded $50,000 in prize money, including a $10,000 first-place award, that was selected during the 2018 Samsung Developer Conference (SDC). Roger Kibbe, who was then an independent developer and took the 2018 top prize, presented his What Bin? capsule (recently renamed to Green Planet) to a panel of judges and an SDC audience. He was later recruited by Samsung’s Viv Labs to become a lead Bixby evangelist.
This year’s contestants won’t be presenting at SDC but technical assistance will be available for developers interested in getting some mentoring on capsule development. That will include last year’s winner Roger Kibbe and other members of the Viv Labs team, including engineers behind Bixby’s development. There will be seven presentations on Bixby, demonstrations of the voice assistant on devices other than smartphones, and code labs. SDC 2019 is scheduled for October 29-30 in San Jose California. You can register through this link and if you use the code SDC19-SER-BIXB you will get pre-approved for registration and receive 50% off the price to attend.
Contest Participation Requirements
You must register to participate in the contest and have a U.S. mailing address. The contest is limited to capsules submitted in English for the U.S. Bixby marketplace. Only capsules approved in the Bixby Marketplace on or before December 9, 2019, will be eligible for the awards. There is a review process before approval so developers will likely need to submit their capsules at least a week ahead of that date to provide adequate time for approvals.