It's no secret that phones and tablets have become second screens we use to get additional information while watching TV. TV advertisers know this, and are always looking for ways to entice you to go online and learn more about their products. To help encourage you to shift your attention from the commercial on the big screen to additional ad content on the small screen, Samsung is working on software that will let you shake your mobile device for additional content.
At Mobile World Congress, Samsung demonstrated how its new, as-yet-unnamed ad technology works. As we watched, a Samsung rep played a commercial for mayonnaise on an HDTV while holding a phone in his hand. During the commercial, a small Samsung ticker message appeared in the lower left corner of the screen, encouraging viewers to "Shake Your Samsung Mobile." After briefly shaking the phone, a microsite about the mayonnaise with a recipe for chicken on it appeared on the handset's screen.
The rep explained this "shake for content" technology works because the software on the phone listens to the audio of the commercial and, after recording 4 seconds and sending that data to the cloud, identifies the correct content to send back. If you shake your phone after the commercial is over or less than 4 seconds before it ends, you're out of luck.
The software isn't out yet, but Samsung told us it will run only on Samsung phones and tablets. You won't need to launch the software before shaking, as it will be on in the background at all times. However, you will need to wake your device from sleep to use it.
There's no word yet on when we'll see this technology in action and what companies will use it in their commercials. Only time will tell if this is a hit with advertisers or if it reaches too small of an audience. Samsung's shaking mechanism appears to be unique, but we've seen the Shazam app, which also sends audio to the cloud to find out what it is, used in other commercials in years past. That solution would work on any phone that installs the app, while Samsung's would only appear on its products.